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Old 01-19-2024, 01:10 PM   #1
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Anode rod/water heater

I was draining my water heater on my 2021 E19 and the anode rod blew out when unscrewing nut on the anode rod. I have been unable to put the screw back the anode rod back into the water heater. I have tried both the old rod and a new rod and neither works. Something on the female threads of the heater seems to be stripped. Anybody have this issue before? Hoping i do not have to replace the whole water heater. Thanks
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Old 01-19-2024, 01:23 PM   #2
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Can you see the threads? The anode actually goes in at a slight upward angle and can be difficult to start by hand. Put a stack of quarters in the socket you are using so that the threads of the anode project out of the socket, put and extension on the socket and try again. Let us know if you are successful.
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Old 01-19-2024, 01:34 PM   #3
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Can you see the threads? The anode actually goes in at a slight upward angle and can be difficult to start by hand. Put a stack of quarters in the socket you are using so that the threads of the anode project out of the socket, put and extension on the socket and try again. Let us know if you are successful.
+1 to that. It takes a bit of practice. I thought I messed it up on a previous camper. Tilt the rod up slightly when screwing it in and it will eventually catch. Make sure to put a couple of winds of teflon tape on there. You got this.
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Old 01-19-2024, 06:37 PM   #4
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Also, it should screw in relatively easy, they are course threads. If it's tough to turn, back it out and try again. You don't want to cross-thread it.

For future reference, prior to removing the anode next time, open a hot water tap in the trailer to relieve the pressure. Then stand to the side as you unscrew the anode and you won't soak your crotch or your shoes. Don't ask how I know these things.
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Old 01-19-2024, 07:49 PM   #5
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For future reference, prior to removing the anode next time, open a hot water tap in the trailer to relieve the pressure. Then stand to the side as you unscrew the anode and you won't soak your crotch or your shoes. Don't ask how I know these things.
Like my first love, I also remember the first time I removed the anode rod (read the first time it launched out of the hot water heater when I attempted to remove it)... but not as fondly.
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Old 01-19-2024, 11:17 PM   #6
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For future reference, prior to removing the anode next time, open a hot water tap in the trailer to relieve the pressure. Then stand to the side as you unscrew the anode and you won't soak your crotch or your shoes. Don't ask how I know these things.
I almost forgot to relieve the pressure on the water heater while winterizing this year (doing too many things at once and getting scatter-brained). I had the socket on the anode and was about to break it loose when I snapped out of it and said, “whoa, whoa, whoa, dummy!!!,” and stopped to relieve the pressure first. My truck was parked parallel to that side of our trailer just a few feet away. It would have been a very inconvenient “oops” if that anode had shot into the door of my truck! Boy, that was close.
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Old 01-20-2024, 04:51 AM   #7
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I usually do not drain the water heater until the water inside has dropped to ambient temperature. When I remove the anode, I do so slowly. It will start leaking around the threads before it will shoot out, and after a short time there is no built up pressure. I have done it with and without opening a hot water faucet without splashed. I do, however, try to remember to open the faucet to allow air in which prevents the glue-glug-glug that occurs when the only way air can replace the contents of the water heater is through the drain hole. I’m guessing most members here can remember when certain brands of beer were sold in “chug-al-lug” containers for the same reason!
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Old 01-20-2024, 08:15 AM   #8
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I was draining my water heater on my 2021 E19 and the anode rod blew out when unscrewing nut on the anode rod. I have been unable to put the screw back the anode rod back into the water heater. I have tried both the old rod and a new rod and neither works. Something on the female threads of the heater seems to be stripped. Anybody have this issue before? Hoping i do not have to replace the whole water heater. Thanks
Use something like a stiff toothbrush to clean the threads up, on the male and female.
Then try it again but this time without the plumbing tape wrapped around the male threads.
Try it again, moving slowly, patiently-repeat. Once you get it on remove and apply the thread tape, it’s a tight fit so you don’t need to wrap it around but maybe twice.
Also what can help just before you are going to turn it to the right-while you have it up against the hole-give it a quarter turn to the left. Sometimes this will help to get the threads on track, plumbing can be a real headache.
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Old 01-20-2024, 10:34 AM   #9
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I have to laugh. Almost all of us have had a "oops" moment when we remove the anode the first time. The back pressure and design of the hole make for a good rocket launcher and hot shower. And yes, screwing it back in takes practice and perhaps a few bad words spoken softly. If you really think some thread were stripped then perhaps posting a close-up photo can help with that identification.
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Old 01-21-2024, 11:56 AM   #10
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I see regularly folks having issues with replacing the anode. I have never had an issue at all. Add pipe tape or dope, insert it squarely turn and tighten.

I have stupidly forgotten to release tank pressure before removing the anode. I go wet and laughed.
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Old 01-21-2024, 08:03 PM   #11
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A while back I too had a hard time, the first time.

Some one on here suggested putting mineral oil on the threads of the tank.
Helped a lot. Now I do it every time.
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Old 01-22-2024, 03:48 AM   #12
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I never put Teflon tape on the anode after draining the hot water tank. I use Rectorseal instead. It is paste like and can be applied using a finger. It comes in a tube like toothpaste only smaller. It seals and lubricates the threads, doesn’t leave shreds of Teflon when removed, and is formulated to work with potable water as well as propane. I have a tube at home and a second one in the trailer.
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Old 01-26-2024, 09:28 AM   #13
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Get a cheap pipe tap

You can chase the threads with the appropriate size pipe tap. They can be expensive so look around, better yet try to borrow one. Don’t buy an expensive one unless you plan to use it many times over.
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Old 01-26-2024, 10:26 AM   #14
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You can chase the threads with the appropriate size pipe tap. They can be expensive so look around, better yet try to borrow one. Don’t buy an expensive one unless you plan to use it many times over.
One can also make a cross-threaded mess of things with an improperly used pipe tap, and there is a certain amount skill involved in their proper use.

IMO if one has already managed to cross-thread the WH with just the anode rod, or is not able to thread-in the anode rod after cleaning the female threads with a toothbrush or similar-size brass-bristle brush, then one is likely not a good candidate to chase the threads with a pipe tap.

Just for consideration, Take Care, Have Fun!
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Old 01-26-2024, 12:22 PM   #15
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The anode actually goes in at a slight upward angle and can be difficult to start by hand.
That and gravity wants to tilt the inboard end down. I use my fingers only, pushing firmly on the bottom of the hex. Using a wrench to start iffy threads often leads to problems.

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One can also make a cross-threaded mess of things with an improperly used pipe tap, and there is a certain amount skill involved in their proper use.
I agree, and chasing threads is a bit of an art that requires a fine touch and more skill than inserting the anode. It's doubtful a new tank is needed but maybe a friend with a pipe tap could remove any slight damage done if the anode was starting cross threaded with a wrench.

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Old 01-26-2024, 02:37 PM   #16
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You can chase the threads with the appropriate size pipe tap. They can be expensive so look around, better yet try to borrow one. Don’t buy an expensive one unless you plan to use it many times over.
Be careful what tap you purchase. It is my understanding that the water heater has tapered threads; it is not National Pipe Thread (NPT). I use a round wire brush to clean the hot water tank’s drain hole if necessary.
And to clarify, I do not actually use a wrench to insert the anode; I use a socket to hold it at the proper angle and an extension on the socket to gently turn it. If I feel any resistance I stop and try again. In my entire life, I have never cross-threaded anything because I never use force to start threaded connectors.
But it all comes down to whatever works for you!
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Old 01-27-2024, 11:11 AM   #17
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Be careful what tap you purchase. It is my understanding that the water heater has tapered threads; it is not National Pipe Thread (NPT). ...
But it all comes down to whatever works for you!
I have successfully used a 3/4" NPT tap to chase these threads annually for many years. I believe all NPT sizes are tapered.
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Old 01-27-2024, 04:57 PM   #18
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I have successfully used a 3/4" NPT tap to chase these threads annually for many years. I believe all NPT sizes are tapered.
Yes, you're correct all National Pipe Thread taps are tapered. The correct tap to repair a damaged thread is a 3/4" NPT 14 TPI. However, and I don't want to insult anyone, if a person hasn't used taps before this wouldn't be a good place to try using one. But any plumbing shop or plumber could easily clean up the damaged threads in minutes for you. The damage to the threads doesn't write off the tank.

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Old 01-27-2024, 07:18 PM   #19
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If you are installing a new anode you can use the old one as a tap.
Cut an angled slot across the threads on opposite sides. Work it very slow and it will clean up existing threads. Turn it in a thread or so back it out then in two or three threads , back out and so on.
This doesn’t work when drilling an new hole and cutting threads but for cleaning up existing threads, everytime.
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Old 01-27-2024, 09:30 PM   #20
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My apologies for my blunder. I started to write that the tap for the anode rod threads was NOT the same tap that would be used for installing bolts commonly used in fabrication and assembly operations; I use them frequently and I would think that is the type of tap most people would have in their tool collections. Then I realized that might be confusing and should simply say the threads are tapered, it is National Pipe Thread (NPT). Somehow I failed to delete the word NOT and didn’t read my post carefully before hitting the “post quick reply” button. In my attempt to not confuse I did just the opposite. My bad!
The first time I removed the anode, I came to the conclusion that the factory has a gorilla that installed it. Same with my 60 gallon water heater for the house. I check its anode once a year also. I did chase the threads after removing the Escape’s anode the first time. I do not do it every year as I do not find in necessary because the pipe dope I use (Rectorseal) rather than teflon tape keeps the threads from rusting and makes removal of the anode rod very easy. But I will still say I find it easier to use a socket to hold it at the correct angle to get it started in the threads easier than using my fingers given the cramped space available for working in.
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