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Old 04-06-2016, 08:28 PM   #1
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Anode Discussion

Well, after posting that our RV guy said we could go another year on our bearings, he called back and said he wanted to look at them anyway. He came out today and did a thorough inspection and declared them nearly "perfect" (hubby said that even the grease smelled "new"). He then checked our solar panel and, after several tense minutes of shaking, pulling, looking at all the installation points, declared that it was quite sound (he did say it helped we had our satellite antenna in front so as to defect the wind a bit ... who knows). THEN he pulled the water heater anode ... yikes! It nearly fell apart in his hands! He explained that with the crappy water a lot of parks have (not to mention our own mineral-laden water), we should be checking the anode every six months. Another lesson learned ... thankfully, before it was too late.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:58 PM   #2
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Wheel Bearing Maintenance

I was surprised by how bad our anode was after just a month or two of camping. About half gone. I guess we only camp where the water is hardest....
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:04 PM   #3
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Amazing. Best camp up here. I'm still using the original anode, approaching eight years. This pic was after six years.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:11 PM   #4
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I've wondered about the anode, I had 8 years on my old trailer and it was no worse then Glen shows, the Escape one still looks close to new. We only turn on the hit water for maybe 20 minutes a day, for those who go through the rods, do you leave the HW on all the time?

Maybe I should have made this a new thread, sorry.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:15 PM   #5
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....am wondering if turning on the water heater at all makes any difference as there is water in the tank. Checked ours at 12 mos and it still had life.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:21 PM   #6
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During the first year, we would leave it on when we were at the campsite. Now we only turn it on right before we need it and then turn it off. That's a good point as that may have caused some of the corrosion.

Another thought would be that we weren't draining our hot water tank between camping trips. Maybe leaving the water sitting in there is another problem.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:27 PM   #7
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I don't drain the water heater between trips. It only gets drained when winterizing.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:31 PM   #8
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I changed my anode after 5 years, and could have gone at least another year. I too leave water in the water heater all the time during camping season.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:15 PM   #9
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Water quality varies widely across Canada. When I monitored the filtration system for our hospital lab, there was so little conductivity in the feed water that I had to add salt to a bucket of water before I could test the efficiency of the reverse osmosis filters (also checking for leaks). City water in some areas of Canada has 10 times the conductivity we had in New Westminster, due to dissolved minerals. It helps explain the great variation in the life of RV hot water tank anodes.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:10 AM   #10
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Here's what our anode looked like after two years ... yuck.
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Old 04-07-2016, 02:38 AM   #11
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Why yuck? It's doing what it is supposed to do, sacrificial metal to prevent the tank from corroding away. That anode has several good years left.
The one at the bottom of this pic needs to be replaced.
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File Type: png Good anode bad anode.png (82.9 KB, 25 views)
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Old 04-07-2016, 03:22 AM   #12
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Truly? Well, that's interesting. We thought it looked rather nasty after remembering what it looked like when we picked up the trailer. See what one can learn on the forum? Thanks.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bobbito View Post
Water quality varies widely across Canada. City water in some areas of Canada has 10 times the conductivity we had in New Westminster, due to dissolved minerals. It helps explain the great variation in the life of RV hot water tank anodes.
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Bob, I'm sure the variation is great across the U.S. Too. I put a new anode in ours in the spring of 2014 and by last fall when I winterized it was about shot. I flush the tank and leave the anode anode out and dry all winter. Lots of variation in water for sure.
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:18 AM   #14
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Here's what our anode looked like after two years ... yuck.
Jan - that one has lots of life left in it. As Glenn says that's what they look like when doing what they are intended for. (Maybe we need to split anode discussion off the wheel bearing thread?)
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Old 04-07-2016, 09:38 AM   #15
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Why yuck? It's doing what it is supposed to do, sacrificial metal to prevent the tank from corroding away. That anode has several good years left.
The one at the bottom of this pic needs to be replaced.
Those that look great after many years are probably aluminum. If they look good after multiple years they are probably not doing their job. My thoughts.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:03 AM   #16
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Why yuck? It's doing what it is supposed to do, sacrificial metal to prevent the tank from corroding away. That anode has several good years left.
The one at the bottom of this pic needs to be replaced.
We full time in our Casita and replace the anode every six months. The last one I replaced looked like the bottom anode in gbaglo's photo.

Note: We have the water heater on all the time, except between locations.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:09 AM   #17
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We full time in our Casita and replace the anode every six months. The last one I replaced looked like the bottom anode in gbaglo's photo.
I think that you hit on the main point, how much of its life is the anode immersed in water. Our is drained all winter and summer if it going to be long before we go out again. Ours is still the original.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:27 AM   #18
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We change ours out every other year due to the water in our area .
They aren't that expensive or hard to change. I know people who never change out their anode ,but they have replaced their water heater. Sort of the pay me know or pay me later philosophy.
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Old 04-07-2016, 10:27 AM   #19
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After doing a little more research on line, I found two posts that were interesting. The first: Plumbing & HVAC Service in Tucson AZ - Arico Plumbing Heating Cooling talks about the different types of rods ... which was especially interesting since our aluminum rod was replaced with a magnesium rod (not good, according to this article). The second: Me and My Dog ...and My RV: RV Maintenance - changing out the Anode Rod step by step talks about the mechanics of replacing the rod -- and we took special note of the placement of plumber's tape.

Bottom line, it would appear we shouldn't have had the rod replaced, nor should we have agreed to the magnesium rod. I guess it's all a learning curve. (BTW, thanks for moving this to a separate thread. Hopefully, others can be helped by the information collected here.)
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Old 04-07-2016, 11:06 AM   #20
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After doing a little more research on line, I found two posts that were interesting. The first: Plumbing & HVAC Service in Tucson AZ - Arico Plumbing Heating Cooling talks about the different types of rods ... which was especially interesting since our aluminum rod was replaced with a magnesium rod (not good, according to this article). The second: Me and My Dog ...and My RV: RV Maintenance - changing out the Anode Rod step by step talks about the mechanics of replacing the rod -- and we took special note of the placement of plumber's tape.

Bottom line, it would appear we shouldn't have had the rod replaced, nor should we have agreed to the magnesium rod. I guess it's all a learning curve. (BTW, thanks for moving this to a separate thread. Hopefully, others can be helped by the information collected here.)
I would disagree with the article and with your conclusion. Magnesium is far more sacrificial than aluminum and therefore protects the steel lining better. That is the reason it may not last as long. The only time an aluminum anode would be preferable is if you have rotten egg smell in your water. Anodes are inexpensive, somewhere around $15. Changing them out is not rocket science. It takes all of ten minutes, and that is if you are slow. In the worst case, a magnesium anode should last a couple of years, but for $15, you could do it yearly for peace of mind.
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