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Old 05-05-2013, 03:35 PM   #1
FragmagnetEOD
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Suburban Anode Rod Question

Hey all, so I replaced the anode rod and the question I have is this. When I screwed the new one in place, I noticed that I have what to me seams like an excessive amount of threads still showing(3-4). I didn't have any problems starting it by hand or snugging it up with the ratchet. I also got a nice rap of teflon tape going too. I feel pretty confident that it is alright the way it sits, just need some affirmation.

Wes
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
86GT2r
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You should be fine. The threads are tapered & it would be next to impossible to screw it in until the threads weren't showing.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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I recently replaced mine. The replacent anode had about 1/8" more threads. I noticed that too. Mine is in with additional threads exposed and doesn't leak.
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Old 05-06-2013, 12:00 AM   #4
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You will be fine as long as its not leaking. check it after a couple of hours, If you dont see any water below the heater you are good to go.
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Old 05-10-2013, 03:27 AM   #5
Bushman512000
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tape or paste

Do away with the tape buy a tube of Teflon paste like in a small travel size of tooth paste. Last a long, long time and keeps the threads from rusting and also seals better get it at any hard ware store...I store it in the Hot water heater so I have it handy at all times Bushman
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:21 AM   #6
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I skipped the teflon thing altogether. No leaks and no problem removing the old anode after 16 months.
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Old 05-10-2013, 10:48 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by diugo View Post
I skipped the teflon thing altogether. No leaks and no problem removing the old anode after 16 months.
You were very lucky. For the additional 3 cents worth of teflon tape, why risk potentially destroying the anode fitting in the water heater tank? If you ever do have corrosion problems and twist off that fitting, you're looking at at least $500 in repairs to replace it.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:10 AM   #8
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You were very lucky. For the additional 3 cents worth of teflon tape, why risk potentially destroying the anode fitting in the water heater tank? If you ever do have corrosion problems and twist off that fitting, you're looking at at least $500 in repairs to replace it.

Not lucky, just smart. I know how galvanic corrosion works. The whole fundamental purpose of the anode is to prevent corrosion entirely---including at the rod itself. I have never had any "corrosion problems" because I always replace the anode before it is depleted.

Why no tape? Because the anode and tank MUST be in good electrical contact in order for the anode to do its job. Tape actually reduces the electrical contact, reducing the anode's effectiveness.

The only time tape is needed is when some bonehead fails to replace the anode before it dissolves, and corrosion then damages some of the threads, leading to leaking.
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Old 05-10-2013, 02:43 PM   #9
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I skipped the teflon thing altogether. No leaks and no problem removing the old anode after 16 months.
My dad was a plumbing and heating contractor. I grew up working with these things. Skipping the teflon tape or paste is not the way to go here.
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Old 05-10-2013, 04:08 PM   #10
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As long as the sacrificial zinc or anode is in contact with the water in the tank, it seems to me that is all that is required. If the zinc/anode is in good condition and not eaten away, then the tank is being protected from corrosion. The zinc/anode rod isn't there to protect itself, it is there to protect the tank and its components and its function is simply a sacrificial one. "Eat me first" if you like.

The Teflon tape IMO simply makes it easier to remove the plug and to help prevent leaking.

But in response to the OP's question and back to the topic, it isn't unusual for a few threads to be showing as others have already indicated.
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diugo View Post
Not lucky, just smart. I know how galvanic corrosion works. The whole fundamental purpose of the anode is to prevent corrosion entirely---including at the rod itself. I have never had any "corrosion problems" because I always replace the anode before it is depleted.

Why no tape? Because the anode and tank MUST be in good electrical contact in order for the anode to do its job. Tape actually reduces the electrical contact, reducing the anode's effectiveness.

The only time tape is needed is when some bonehead fails to replace the anode before it dissolves, and corrosion then damages some of the threads, leading to leaking.
No; you are dealing with pipe threads that taper to forum a binding fitment has the components are screwed together. Since you are dealing with pipe threads the fitment may be slightly lose between the root of the female fitting and the peak of the male fitting, allowing a leak. That is why a third medium is used to take up this gap between them. This is why the industry uses either pipe dope or Teflon tape for this joint.

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Old 05-11-2013, 03:49 PM   #12
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Being kind of new to RVing I had no idea what maintenance was needed for the water header. I was just told yesterday that my buddies water header had a leak because he never changed the anode. The leak rotted out the floor of his toy hauler. From what I was told he is in the process of ripping out the floor so he can replace it with new wood.

Last night I checked my header and the anode looked pretty corroded. I sprayed it with wd-40 hoping it would loosen it up. This morning I ran to the store to get a 1 1/16 socket. Luckily the anode came right out, but it was just a wire. The anode was completely gone.

I saw a you tube video last night about cleaning the heater. They said to fill it half way with vinegar then top off with fresh water. Turn the heat on then let in sit over night. In the morning flush. So I got 3 gallons of vinegar from Costco. I'll fill it and let it do its thing.

I also ordered 2 anodes off of ebay. They should be here by next weekend.

Jerry
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:52 PM   #13
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What other maintenance like this is needed on the trailer???? I already ran the bleach through the water line. Did that last weekend to get ready for the season.

Anything need to be done to the a/c heater???


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Old 05-11-2013, 04:11 PM   #14
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I've never heard anything about adding 3 gallons of vinegar mixed in with 3 gallons of plain water to the HW tank, turning it on and let it sit overnight in order to clean the HW tank. I would imagine that this process would be similar to cleaning out your electric coffee maker or iron -- to get rid of deposits that build up over time.

HW heater anodes should be checked at least once every year. If you live or visit areas where the water is heavy in certain mineral content, your anode will get "eaten away" quickly. When the zinc on the rod reaches less than 50%, I would replace it right away. I generally look for 70% and then I will replace it. The anodes aren't that expensive so it is cheap insurance.

I would recommend that you use Teflon tape on the threads of the anode before you install it.
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:25 PM   #15
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The best way to clean your HW heater is to turn it off for 24 hours before you drain it and then remove the anode rod, under pressure, while standing in front of it. Does a great job....of course you will need to place all of your clothing in a dryer for a while. For some reason I have done this twice. One thinks that I should have learned to let the pressure off after the first drenching.
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:28 PM   #16
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just more trivia:

Had a suburban on my last TT. Due to that TT design, I could open my low point drains when leaving a campsite and the Hot water heater would drain completely. Since I only had water in the tank while camping the anode rod was still barely pitted after two years. I checked it yearly when I flushed the tank out. Still have a spare anode rod that I bought but never used -- don't need it on the current Atwood HWH.
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:33 PM   #17
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There is a procedure to use white distilled vinegar in a mixture of 2:1 (4 gallons of vinegar to 2 gallons of water) to reduce the smell of sulfication in the water heater. Occasionally, there is a bacteria that gets in the water heater, sets up a "not too nice smell" and persists even though the water heater may be emptied, rinsed and refilled. The vinegar helps kill the bacteria and neutralize the sulfur that they produce. There is also a procedure to use clorox to do the same thing. Either way will remove the bacteria and their byproducts. You can look the process up at the following website: http://beamalarm.com/Documents/atwoo...eshooting.html
or here: http://www.atwoodmobile.com/manuals/...2011.19.07.pdf

One thing that I read last year (never paid attention to it before) is that RV antifreeze is extrememly corrosive to the anode rod. The recommendation was to leave the rod out of the water heater if you pour any antifreeze into the tank (to freezeproof the small bit of water left in the tank).

Hope this helps you some, but unless you've got a sulfur smell or taste, there's no need to use vinegar.
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:40 PM   #18
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The you tube video I saw said the vinegar help remove deposits in the tank. Since I purchased the 5th used and after seeing what was left of the anode I figured the vinegar wouldn't hurt.

Now that I know about this I'll be checking the anode regularly and most likely draining the water heater after each trip.

Now is there anything else I should be doing?????

Jerry
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Old 05-11-2013, 07:47 PM   #19
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I seldom drain the water heater (except during winterization) and certainly not after every trip. My fear is forgetting to turn the shut off valve back, and turning the switch on to heat the tank which, of course, is empty! If my memory was better, I might consider that.

I've never had any problems with leaving the tank full of water between trips so I will continue that practice.
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:23 PM   #20
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Little up date with the water heater. In the video I saw that said to put the vinegar in the tank and let it sit. When they flushed their tank you could see the water was whitish in color. It took a while before it cleared up.

Well I drained my tank this morning. It was clear. So this tells me the tank is clean and I feel lucky because I don't think the anode was ever changed by the previous owner.

From now on I'll check the anode every 6 months and flush the tank good each time. I will not do the vinegar again. It didn't seem to do anything.


Jerry
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