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Old 02-03-2008, 03:31 PM   #1
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Question Anode Rod

Camping World has a sale on Anode Rods for Suburban and Atwood water heaters. According to my documentation, my 6 gal. Atwood water heater doesn't have one. The Camping World ad says to remove the plastic drain plug and replace it with the Anode Rod to extend the life of the water heater.

Is this something we should do, add an Anode Rod to the water heater?

Thanks,

Randy
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Old 02-03-2008, 03:57 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverCabin
... remove the plastic drain plug and replace it with the Anode Rod to extend the life of the water heater...
have u read the shampoo bottle directions...

"wet, apply shampoo, lather, rinse....

and REPEAT"

it is my understanding the newer atwoods have an aluminum tank, not steel.

no anode rod is needed or recommended for these alum tanks...

my approach is to remove the water heater plug monthly and rinse out the tank solids...

it takes about 5 minutes to do, including the time to drain the tank...

but i also filter ALL water going into the 'stream for chlorine, iron, sulfur, minerals and other elements that can interact with the tank...

new plugs and silicone tape are cheap, so i carry several...

for folks with steel tanks the rods may be helpful, since they provide the sacrificial element...

but even these need to be removed regularly and the tanks flushed...

and with the cost of replacing the rods annually, i'm not sure any money is saved over the long term...

steel tank faq #4...


cheers
2air'
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:03 PM   #3
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Rinse Periodically

Thanks 2air.

I did see the rinse instructions. Since mine is 2006 vintage, I suppose I have the aluminum tank. Thus, save the money and rinse periodically.

Couldn't find anything in the Forums on this, so I thought I would pose the question for all.

Randy
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:17 PM   #4
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hi randy

i seem to recall the aluminum tanks are 'lined' with something that eliminates the need for an anode rod...

in addition the tanks threading is aluminum...

while the anode rod is steel or brass?

so IF you did use one silicone tape would be an absolute requirement,

to avoid galvanic welding of the rod to the hole...

the plastic plugs atwood uses don't require tape,

but i've found using it sometimes stops a dribble at the threads...

for RINSING the water heater tank, there is a cheap yellow hose head wand gizmo that works...

cw sells them and we've posted pictures of it back somewhere...


cheers
2air'
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:40 PM   #5
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Not bad Joe.......but here's the actual skinny on the subject:

No, Atwoods DO NOT HAVE AN ANODE ROD and adding one to your Atwood will void your warranty!!!!!!!!!!!! I have no idea why CW sells one, as they won't do a thing to the lined tank of an Atwood. It's just like the 'Hott Rodd' that they sell to make an LP only heater into an LP/electric model. Some folks use them....but again......IT WILL VOID YOUR WARRANTY.

Further, these devices are usually UL rated, and if it is rated only as an LP device.....adding 120VAC to it will void it's UL rating. If you have a fire and it's caused by the device that you added guess what...... NO INSURANCE COVERAGE!!!!!

BTW, you should always add a thread sealant to any plastic threaded fitting unless it is a compression fitting or has a rubber gasket or saniprene seal on the end......in which case you never add anything to the threads as they do not accomplish the sealing; the gaskets or compression ring do the sealing.

Also, the anodes that Suburban uses on their water heaters are magnesium and yes....they should have pipe sealant or tape on the threads.

Rinsing is also recommended for ANY water heater. Get all of the crap out of the tank......it might take 2 or 3 rinses. It will definitely prolong the life of your tank!
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Old 02-03-2008, 04:55 PM   #6
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tanks lewster!

the rod is magnesium but how about the threading ?

i get the sealant guide but here the...

tanks threading is aluminum and the plug is plastic (butyl)

no gasket and not a compression fitting, but it does expand/compress a little from the hot water and pressure

so tape on the plug yes/no?

cheers
2air'
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Old 02-03-2008, 06:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2airishuman
tanks lewster!

the rod is magnesium but how about the threading ?

i get the sealant guide but here the...

tanks threading is aluminum and the plug is plastic (butyl)

no gasket and not a compression fitting, but it does expand/compress a little from the hot water and pressure

so tape on the plug yes/no?

cheers
2air'
You're vulkem!

I always tape plastic threads with the listed exceptions, especially when going into metal threads so......................YES! DO IT!!!!! You'll be happy you did!
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Old 02-03-2008, 07:30 PM   #8
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The aluminum tank will corrode, but a sacrificial zinc anode will prevent this from happening. The white stuff you flush out is residue from prior corrosion, but the tank is still being attacked and has corrosion attached to the surface. One day a hole will form where the corrosion has eaten through the tank wall. Notice that all Mercury outboard and In/Out drives use a zinc anode just above an aft of the propeller. Observe, depending on the water's ingrediants, some with severe sacrifice. Steel tanks can use magnesium anodes for the same purpose of protection.
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Old 02-04-2008, 09:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lewster
Atwoods DO NOT HAVE AN ANODE ROD and adding one to your Atwood will void your warranty!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks Lew. That's pretty clear!

Randy
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:23 AM   #10
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It's not that the anode does "nothing." It's that Atwood has found that the benefits do not outweigh the costs.

Originally, aluminum or zinc/aluminum anode rods were developed to protect steel tanks which have a much bigger problem with galvanic corrosion. But the Camco rods designed for the Atwood are magnesium (and with an aluminum thread).

A magnesium rod will protect an aluminum tank. However, it does so only very slightly. And the tank has thick enough walls to last a very long time with the amount of corrosion going on. The biggest down side to an anode rod in the tank is the sediment and smell created. Atwood highly recommends flushing the tank thoroughly at least once every six weeks to keep the tank clean and smelling good. And as mentioned, it is a good idea to filter metals out of the water going into the water heater.
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