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Old 02-09-2015, 02:29 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
Built differently and probably has a glass liner where the trailer's water heater is metal.
I think they're all metal tanks, and almost all steel, but home tanks are often glass-lined, and Atwood's RV tanks are aluminum (or aluminum-lined). The glass lining may eliminate the anode, but since the glass lining is not perfect a glass-lined tank can still have an anode. Atwood does not use anodes.

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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
In addition it should also be drained yearly to eliminate debris that settles at the bottom. Have not done that in 9 years.
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
I remember a couple years ago I had to replace my home water heater and had a real struggle removing the old one - couldn't drain all the water from the lower drain plug. That was because there was so much scale in the bottom of the tank that it completely clogged the drain. The layer of scale (almost a FOOT thick) was also the reason it wouldn't heat water anymore.
I had a repair done on the very old water heater in my first house (a thermocouple replacement) and I asked the repair tech if I should be draining it. He asked if I had been... and said that if I had never opened the drain, I probably shouldn't try it, because the sediment would likely keep the drain valve from ever properly sealing closed again. Yeah, sediment can be an issue...
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Old 02-09-2015, 02:36 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by GerriJ View Post
Does the anode nut require good contact with the tank to work properly. When I reinstalled the replacement anode I used plenty of Teflon tape.
Logically, it seems to me that the anode will be completely ineffective unless it has an electrical connection to the tank. Thread tape (which is usually PTFE but never actually TeflonŽ) or dope is required for the water seal, but seems likely to prevent a proper electrical connection - maybe the threads cut through the tape enough that it works electrically.

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Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
The anode nut just holds the rod and the rod holds the sacrificial metal. Nut just has to be secure and you only want to use a couple wraps of the tape.
I would think it has to be mechanically secure to hold the anode, and tight enough to seal the pipe-threaded port against water pressure.

I agree that excessive tape should be avoided.
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Old 02-09-2015, 03:29 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
... I tried removing the anode with the tank vertical, just as if it was still installed. It was in so tight that I would have twisted off the piping connected to it...
That is the situation in my current (not an Escape, but similar) trailer. I tried to remove the anode, and it was so tight that it seemed like a high risk of making the water heater unusable, without a clear need to do it. I left the anode in place.

Once a water heater has gone for many years without regular anode removal (or regular draining/flushing of those home units), it might not be safe to start.
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Old 02-09-2015, 04:08 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
He asked if I had been... and said that if I had never opened the drain, I probably shouldn't try it, because the sediment would likely keep the drain valve from ever properly sealing closed again. Yeah, sediment can be an issue...
Yes, I did this once and couldn't seal the valve and had to junk the tank.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:32 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Logically, it seems to me that the anode will be completely ineffective unless it has an electrical connection to the tank. Thread tape (which is usually PTFE but never actually TeflonŽ) or dope is required for the water seal, but seems likely to prevent a proper electrical connection - maybe the threads cut through the tape enough that it works electrically
Sacrificial anodes don't work that way. The electricity is actually electrolysis. Two different types of metal (the tank wall and the anode material) are electrically connected because they are both touching the water - which conducts electrical molecules. One is more susceptible to the corrosion than the other, so it gets eaten up first. There are "powered" anodes in some water heater systems, but these don't sacrifice themselves at all - and have an actual electrical connection to the anode.

Good point about the anodes in home water heaters. The 6 year tanks usually have one long anode, while the 12 year tanks usually have two -- and they "should" be replaced periodically, although I have never done it.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:02 PM   #46
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....The 6 year tanks usually have one long anode, while the 12 year tanks usually have two -- and they "should" be replaced periodically, although I have never done it.
Me either. I hope to sell the homestead before the water heater needs to be replaced! I bought one with a 15 year warranty four years ago...
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:07 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by rbryan4 View Post
Sacrificial anodes don't work that way. The electricity is actually electrolysis. Two different types of metal (the tank wall and the anode material) are electrically connected because they are both touching the water - which conducts electrical molecules. One is more susceptible to the corrosion than the other, so it gets eaten up first. There are "powered" anodes in some water heater systems, but these don't sacrifice themselves at all - and have an actual electrical connection to the anode.
Yes, it's electrolysis, and like any electrolytic circuit it is completed by an external component. In a galvanic combination the reaction of the metals through the electrolyte drives the circuit. Ions flow through the electrolyte (water), balanced by electron flow through the external circuit or contact point.

Impressed current cathodic protection system replace the voltage of reaction between the metals with and externally imposed voltage, so they don't need to consume the anode.

From Wikipedia's Sacrificial metal article:
Quote:
When two metals touch each other and water is present, electrolysis occurs. One well known example is the reaction between zinc (Zn) and iron (Fe). Zn atoms ionize as it is more electropositive and is oxidized and corrodes.

Zn(s)→Zn2+
(aq) +2e (oxidation)
Note the "touch" part... I'm guessing there's enough contact at the water heater anode threads to complete the circuit.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:11 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Yes, it's electrolysis, and like any electrolytic circuit it is completed by an external component. In a galvanic combination the reaction of the metals through the electrolyte drives the circuit. Ions flow through the electrolyte (water), balanced by electron flow through the external circuit or contact point.

Impressed current cathodic protection system replace the voltage of reaction between the metals with and externally imposed voltage, so they don't need to consume the anode.

From Wikipedia's Sacrificial metal article:

Note the "touch" part... I'm guessing there's enough contact at the water heater anode threads to complete the circuit.
Ah, you're right. I thought you were saying there had to be an electrical connection Brian. Metal on metal does indeed complete the circuit. According to the installation documentation I've been able to find, the anode threads should be wrapped 6 times with the Teflon tape. Installing would apparently remove enough material from the threads for metal-to-metal contact to occur.
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Old 02-10-2015, 12:26 AM   #49
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Not sure how you would get the thread to start with six wraps. It's hard enough as it is. I use two and a bit, just enough to keep from unwrapping. Also wrap counter-clockwise so it doesn't unwrap when you turn the anode clockwise.
My great fear is cross-threading it.
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Old 02-10-2015, 01:23 AM   #50
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Not sure how you would get the thread to start with six wraps. It's hard enough as it is. I use two and a bit, just enough to keep from unwrapping. Also wrap counter-clockwise so it doesn't unwrap when you turn the anode clockwise.
My great fear is cross-threading it.
Yeah, 6 sounded excessive to me as well. No matter what the fitting I usually only wrap it twice around, enough to hold it in place. Any more than that and the fit's too tight. In the video I posted above, the presenter mentions he always keeps a spare anode. Do you think that has any benefit? Why not just replace it every couple years or so as regular maintenance?
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