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Old 12-19-2008, 10:58 AM   #1
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Anode going AWOL

Anyone have any idea as to what causes the clay to come off of a water heater anode. I am assuming that I must have hooded up something wrong. The heater sat in the box for many months. There was water in the heater and system for several days when I tested the new plumbing. The heater got tepid during a short AC test and heated up fine on gas.

When I drained the system I found a lot of clay like substance in the bottom of the water heater, and the anode rod was all pitted. The metal in the rod does not look corroded.

I sent an email to Suburban inquiring about the problem but never heard from them.

This spring I will go through the system but thought it may save some time if someone else had run across this
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Old 12-19-2008, 11:45 AM   #2
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Is that an anode rod or an electric heating element to heat the water on 110?

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Old 12-19-2008, 12:40 PM   #3
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When I winterized our 69 this fall it had a brand new suburban water heater. I noticed a fair amount of pitting like yours, not near as much up by the threads though. Might be best to flush the bottom of the tank and replace the rod, could have been defective, or you might have had some pretty strong water at a camp ground or something too. Our local ACE hardware had the anode rod, think they were 5 or 6 bucks to replace, so we just swaped it out.
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Old 12-19-2008, 01:29 PM   #4
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I've never seen an anode go that fast, in just a few days.

I suspect that you have a case of stray current corrosion, which only happens in proximity to DC current sources, and can happen much more rapidly than normal galvanic corrosion.

Check all your DC wiring to be sure there isn't a wire brushing against the water heater, frame, or associated piping.
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Old 12-19-2008, 05:21 PM   #5
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Looks like the electric heating element I just installed in my Atwood as an add-on. I have no experience with it and it won't get tested until January, but I agree it shouldn't naturally deteriorate that quickly. Hopefully markdoane tagged it right and you have a simple cure. Let us know what you find.
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Old 12-20-2008, 10:30 PM   #6
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The DC is also one of my main suspicions. It was good to know it occurred to someone else. It is the anode rod, not a heater element. Thanks for all of the input...any ideas are welcome, it will save me a lot of trouble shooting (hopefully).
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Old 12-25-2008, 11:04 AM   #7
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heat element - annode?

Originally Posted by BigAl View Post
Is that an anode rod or an electric heating element to heat the water on 110?
I meant to repond to this awhile ago--
I thought it looked like a heat element. I checked the manual & the hole I took it out of. According to the manual the rode came out of the anode hole on the Suburban 6WDE. I am mystified, but suspect the wiring needs to be rechecked for shorts.

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