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Old 08-28-2010, 04:53 PM   #1
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Water Heater Maintenance Question

I changed out my annode rod in the 2005 36FDTS and it was obvious there was a lot of gunk/residue in the bottom of the tank (Suburban SW10DE). I know I am supposed to drain/flush the water heater to remove all this but how? Where is the access to the drain? The annode rod is near the bottom, I guess, is that also supposed to be the drain point? If so, it doesn't work well in removing the residue, since the annode rod is not at the low point and the residue can get over the lip.

I tried to flush water through the water heater with the annode rod out (and connected a wet dry vac to the opening). It did flush a lot the junk out but there was still more I could feel with my fingers.

Is there another drain point that can be accessed to flush out all residue after an annode rod change out?
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Old 08-28-2010, 05:56 PM   #2
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I have a Suburban water heater but I'm pretty sure they all work about the same way.

The anode also serves as the drain point. You should also purchase a plastic clean out wand from Camping World or where ever you can find one. It is only about 14" long, attaches directly to a water hose, and is curved at the end. You simply move it around as much as possible slowly to agitate the debris in the tank and then allow it to drain out.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcbowers View Post
I have a Suburban water heater but I'm pretty sure they all work about the same way.

The anode also serves as the drain point. You should also purchase a plastic clean out wand from Camping World or where ever you can find one. It is only about 14" long, attaches directly to a water hose, and is curved at the end. You simply move it around as much as possible slowly to agitate the debris in the tank and then allow it to drain out.
Thanks. I'll check the local RV parts store first for that wand device. The annode rod I removed was almost completely dissolved. Must have been the OEM. I've owned the MH for 18 months and this is the first time I changed it.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:16 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave and Jaime View Post
I changed out my annode rod in the 2005 36FDTS and it was obvious there was a lot of gunk/residue in the bottom of the tank (Suburban SW10DE). I know I am supposed to drain/flush the water heater to remove all this but how? Where is the access to the drain? The annode rod is near the bottom, I guess, is that also supposed to be the drain point? If so, it doesn't work well in removing the residue, since the annode rod is not at the low point and the residue can get over the lip.

I tried to flush water through the water heater with the annode rod out (and connected a wet dry vac to the opening). It did flush a lot the junk out but there was still more I could feel with my fingers.

Is there another drain point that can be accessed to flush out all residue after an annode rod change out?
First of all you cannot get it all out so don't worry, because what if left in there is no problem. I had not serviced mine in a while this time. Previously I had curved the in a coat hanger wire so would not scrape the inside and worked to get as much out as I could.

This time I took a short cut. I turned on water pump, held my thumb in hole as long as I could and released quicky and all that stuff gushed out with great force. Did that a few times and it was good enough for me and for another few years.

I went to a Suburban seminar several years back and the tech said you guys change that anode rod way too often. He showed several examples of decay and when he got to the one that was just a thin wire left, he said this is when you change it! I have had my rig 11 years and this was just my second change out. Fortunately I went to his seminar when mine was just about a year old.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:20 PM   #5
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This what you need. Water Heater Tank Rinser - Item - Camping World

Also, it would help if you yearly put 1 gal of generic white vinegar per 15 gals in your fresh water tank. Open each faucett including the toilet and outside faucett until you smell vinegar. Lert sit for 4-6 hours then drain tank and refill with fresh water. Turn on each of the above mentioned faucets again to clear the vinegar smell. Repeat flush and fill with fresh water if necessary. Lastly, used the above tool to finalize cleaning of the water heater.

You can also pick one up from one of the forum sponsers. Excellanr customer service and fast shipping. http://www.rvupgradestore.com/detail_88-8710__10.html
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:48 PM   #6
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Contrary to popular belief you can get most of the gunk out of the bottom of the water heater, and you would be better off if you made your own clean out tool. It will take some 1/4" copper tubing and the necessary hose/pipe fittings to make it up. Also handy if you add a valve to the hose hook up end so you can control the water pressure while using the tool. Curve the pipe a bit, and then put about a 45 degree bend about 1.5" from the end of the pipe.

Make sure the water heater is off, then remove the anode rod, and open the pressure relief valve, and get the water out of there. Then using a hose hooked to your home made flush out tool, stick it up into the tank and turn on the water at your valve and keep running it around the water heater with fairly good water pressure going through it. This will get the most of all the crap out of it.

If you are full timing, you should check the anode rod every six months, if not, either in spring or fall when you put the coach away or put it in service. What we used to do while we were still working we left the anode rod out of the tank laying in the bottom of the little shelf area of the water heater and made sure the door panel was closed. Then in the spring, I used Teflon tape on the threads and installed it with the proper sized socket and ratchet. Don’t tighten it down like there is no tomorrow, you will crack the fitting, just good enough so it won’t leak.

You should also sanitize your water system every six months if full timing, or after 30 days of non use if not using it all the time. You can also drain out the water, refill with city water before the 30 days period to keep it fresh. City water systems have enough chlorine in it to keep it fresh. Getting Montezuma’s revenge from bad water makes camping not so much fun, and I speak from experience.
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Old 08-28-2010, 06:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BZam View Post
First of all you cannot get it all out so don't worry, because what if left in there is no problem. I had not serviced mine in a while this time. Previously I had curved the in a coat hanger wire so would not scrape the inside and worked to get as much out as I could.

This time I took a short cut. I turned on water pump, held my thumb in hole as long as I could and released quicky and all that stuff gushed out with great force. Did that a few times and it was good enough for me and for another few years.

I went to a Suburban seminar several years back and the tech said you guys change that anode rod way too often. He showed several examples of decay and when he got to the one that was just a thin wire left, he said this is when you change it! I have had my rig 11 years and this was just my second change out. Fortunately I went to his seminar when mine was just about a year old.
Well, I changed mine at the right time then! All that was left was a wire.
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Old 08-28-2010, 07:01 PM   #8
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Depending on the water where you camp, the heaters with anodes typically last 1 to 2 years. I made a flushing tool from 1/4" copper and flush it about every two years.

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Old 08-28-2010, 07:39 PM   #9
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Unless, there is a lot, and I mean a lot of Iron in the water, RV water heaters usually last 5-8 years under continious use. If you do the anode rod annually or sooner as needed, and flush them out, it will last a good long time. You most likely will sell the RV before the water heater goes out. More get toasted from improper winterizing than anything else. Inspect it every 6 months (anode rod) and you will be fine. I kept two of them and alternated between the two each period it was inspected.
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:06 AM   #10
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I notice that a lot of people who aren't fulltimers seems to have a list of things that fulltimers have to do. Things are different when you fulltime and what you might do when you use a rig for a few months/weeks at a time are quite different from what you do when you fulltime.


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Old 08-29-2010, 03:51 PM   #11
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You know you are correct, but you can get a bad load of water almost anyplace, especially if you bookdock, and get your water from a truck. In RV Repair School, we were advised to always sanitize our fresh water system at lease every 90 days to 6 months depending on where we got our water.

And maintenance more often than requried is not such a bad thing, cost you more but replacement is put off.
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