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Old 03-28-2014, 10:02 PM   #1
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Hot Water Heater Anode

Need to replace the hot water heater anode this spring. Which is best, magnesium or aluminum? Have a 1999 Rexhall 35' Vision.

Are they all a standard size?

Thanks for any info.

Gary
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:15 PM   #2
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Aluminum is pretty typical for most water heaters. You probably have either an Atwood or a Suburban (which I have). Camco makes replacement rods for both.
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Old 03-28-2014, 10:39 PM   #3
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I think magnesium or aluminum depends on water heater tank type or local water conditions. Atwood didn't use anodes for many years because they had aluminum tanks. Suburban ALWAYS had anodes in a steel tank. I now see magnesium anodes available for Atwood tanks. Your anode must be of a metal more 'sacrificial' than the tank metal.
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Old 03-29-2014, 02:35 AM   #4
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Yes someone makes an anode for Atwood heaters. I spoke with several RV techs and they all stated they are not needed in Atwoods. From new, Atwood water heaters do not have anodes. I use a plastic plug in my Atwood drain hole.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:18 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GNHebb View Post
Need to replace the hot water heater anode this spring. Which is best, magnesium or aluminum? Have a 1999 Rexhall 35' Vision.

Are they all a standard size?

Thanks for any info.

Gary
As others have said, do not add an anode rod if you have an Attwood water heater. Only Suburban recommends using an anode rod.

Magnesium is more reactive than aluminum and therefore may provide more protection. However, it will be consumed more rapidly than aluminum and will need to be replaced more often.

The other consideration of aluminum vs. magnesium is whether or not you camp in areas with high levels of sulfur in the water. Aluminum has a lesser tendency to react with the sulfur and create a foul odor in your hot water than magnesium. If you encounter sulfur frequently, avoid magnesium.

As far as RV anode rods being standard, I think they all have the same threads, but different lengths are available.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:42 AM   #6
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I had the Atwood, since it did not need a rod, I added an electric rod heater in the drain hole. If you only have a gas unit, it is nice to have the electric upgrade when the campground is providing the electricity in the space rental price. In addition, using the gas and the electric preheat quicker, and might mean you get a hot shower after someone else's shower.
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Old 03-29-2014, 08:48 AM   #7
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I've read that the replacement rods by manufacturers other than the OEM are not as good. You might want to do some research on this. I prefer to pay a little more and use the original Suburban replacement. JMHO!
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:54 AM   #8
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My Standard water heater has anode, I tried to get it out last year, after a long while I can't get it out. I used all sorts of sprays and lubes last year to no avail. Should I try a breaker bar if I can get one in there and try to get it out ?
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:59 AM   #9
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My Standard water heater has anode, I tried to get it out last year, after a long while I can't get it out. I used all sorts of sprays and lubes last year to no avail. Should I try a breaker bar if I can get one in there and try to get it out ? Tim
Maybe try some heat from a small torch to tank edge. Be careful, keep some water around to put anything out.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spritz View Post
My Standard water heater has anode, I tried to get it out last year, after a long while I can't get it out. I used all sorts of sprays and lubes last year to no avail. Should I try a breaker bar if I can get one in there and try to get it out ?
Tim
If it's an American Standard, they have been out of the RV water heater business for a long time. If your break the tank, the whole unit will have to be replaced. You might try putting a torch on the plug, after again soaking it in a good penetrating oil. Rather than just a breaker bar with more torque, you might try an impact wrench to try to 'shock' it loose.
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Old 03-30-2014, 11:34 AM   #11
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Another trick that sometimes works is to try to tighten it a little. Just the slightest bit of movement can be enough to help loosen it.
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