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TOPIC: Don't forget your Anodes!

Don't forget your Anodes! 4 weeks 1 day ago #1

An often overlooked RV maintenance item is the anode in your water heater. I've got a 12 gallon Suburban unit in my 2018 GK and here is a picture of the original anode (alongside a new anode on the right) after one year of continuous use. It is recommended that the anode be changed out annually. It's worth mentioning that certain glass lined water heaters such as some Atwood models don't require an anode so check your manufacturer/model number first. The anodes are cheap and fairly easy to replace. Your water heater will thank you!
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Don't forget your Anodes! 4 weeks 1 day ago #2

PunksRedwood wrote: An often overlooked RV maintenance item is the anode in your water heater. I've got a 12 gallon Suburban unit in my 2018 GK and here is a picture of the original anode (alongside a new anode on the right) after one year of continuous use. It is recommended that the anode be changed out annually. It's worth mentioning that certain glass lined water heaters such as some Atwood models don't require an anode so check your manufacturer/model number first. The anodes are cheap and fairly easy to replace. Your water heater will thank you!

If you don't have a new one handy, that old one could be wire brushed & reused. My manual says "inspected annually & replaced if necessary". Actually after a year that one doesn't look that bad, had them with much more corrosion in less time, it all depends on water quality.
Since I've been using the water softener the anodes last 2-3 times longer.

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Travelin' Texans
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Don't forget your Anodes! 4 weeks 23 hours ago #3

If your water tends to smell like sulfur at times, move to the Aluminum rods. They reduce the smell significantly. For the ultimate smell eliminator, use Zinc. There is also a combo Zinc/Aluminum rod. Different parts of the country give you different water quality. I use Aluminum here in North Texas with pretty good results. Will probably move to Zinc though shortly. As you change rod types, prices go up. Magnesium are $9-$12. Aluminum are $15-20. Zinc jumps to about $45-50. Zinc combos are even higher. You get what you pay for...

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Don't forget your Anodes! 4 weeks 22 hours ago #4

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Take a look at the end of the anode rod. You will see that there is a rod inside the rod. The inside rod is structural, and the outside is the sacrificial anode. I had the same concern after our first year and what I thought was a lot of corrosion.

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Don't forget your Anodes! 4 weeks 8 hours ago #5

BobnMary wrote: Take a look at the end of the anode rod. You will see that there is a rod inside the rod. The inside rod is structural, and the outside is the sacrificial anode. I had the same concern after our first year and what I thought was a lot of corrosion.


You're right BobnMary about the inside rod being structural. My instructions say to replace the anode rod when 75% of the sacrificial metal is consumed. I'd say I was pretty close to 75% of the outer sacrificial material being gone hence maybe their recommendation for one year replacement interval is spot on. It's hard to see in my photo but there are deep pits in the surface material all over the old rod.

Here is a link to the rod I purchased . . .

www.amazon.com/Quick-Products-QP-MAR9-Ma...+Magnesium+Anode+Rod

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Last Edit: by PunksRedwood.

Don't forget your Anodes! 4 weeks 7 hours ago #6

PunksRedwood wrote:

BobnMary wrote: Take a look at the end of the anode rod. You will see that there is a rod inside the rod. The inside rod is structural, and the outside is the sacrificial anode. I had the same concern after our first year and what I thought was a lot of corrosion.


You're right BobnMary about the inside rod being structural. My instructions say to replace the anode rod when 75% of the sacrificial metal is consumed. I'd say I was pretty close to 75% of the outer sacrificial material being gone hence maybe their recommendation for one year replacement interval is spot on. It's hard to see in my photo but there are deep pits in the surface material all over the old rod.


Here is a link to the rod I purchased . . .

www.amazon.com/Quick-Products-QP-MAR9-Ma...+Magnesium+Anode+Rod


Actually I'd say the one shown might be 25% gone, but that's my opinion. I've had then down to about a 1/4" in diameter which in my opinion would be 75% gone. That structural rod in the center is about the size of an extra large coat hanger.
Here's75%;
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Don't forget your Anodes! 2 weeks 7 hours ago #7

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Have looked for zinc anodes online but can't seem to find any? Where would you get yours?

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Don't forget your Anodes! 2 weeks 4 hours ago #8

Not sure where, probably not much demand for them, or why you'd spend $50 on a consumable rod that probably won't last 5 times longer than the $9 one.
If your wanting to improve water quality spend the money on a rv water softener, the water tastes better, less spotting & the anode rod will last longer.

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Travelin' Texans
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Don't forget your Anodes! 2 weeks 3 hours ago #9

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Just bought one so I’ll give that a try.

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Don't forget your Anodes! 2 weeks 2 hours ago #10

Here is a combo Alum/Zinc rod ($22.99 - Available in 9" and 12"):

www.amazon.com/Duda-Solar-alumrod33cm-Zi...ode+rod+water+heater

They may or may not last longer (I suspect longer based on the materials), BUT, the smell DEFINITELY goes away! I used to go thru the Magnesium's in about 8-10 months. The Aluminum one I have now has been in there for about a year and it is still going strong. I see this one lasting a lot longer and no smells.

If you need to go pure zinc:

www.amazon.com/Trailer-NW-LEISURE-Saver-...2HAB2V7VPC7CAY6X69QV

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Last Edit: by GipCTravelers.

Don't forget your Anodes! 1 week 6 days ago #11

GipCTravelers wrote: Here is a combo Alum/Zinc rod ($22.99 - Available in 9" and 12"):

www.amazon.com/Duda-Solar-alumrod33cm-Zi...ode+rod+water+heater

They may or may not last longer (I suspect longer based on the materials), BUT, the smell DEFINITELY goes away! I used to go thru the Magnesium's in about 8-10 months. The Aluminum one I have now has been in there for about a year and it is still going strong. I see this one lasting a lot longer and no smells.

If you need to go pure zinc:

www.amazon.com/Trailer-NW-LEISURE-Saver-...2HAB2V7VPC7CAY6X69QV


I can see 1 huge problem using the anode with the petcock, every anode I've replaced was severely corroded closest to the threads, that one is apparently hollow closest to the threads so it's supposedly able to drain (which once corroded won't happen), what I see happening is the rod corrodes & breaks off laying in the bottom of the tank in a very short time, probably still doing it's designed function, but you won't know for sure.
The same anode with petcock says for Suburban or Atwood water heaters, but the Atwood is a lined tank & doesn't require an anode so an unnecessary expense.
I'll stick with cheap one, have never had any odor from the hot water.

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Travelin' Texans
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Last Edit: by Danny and Linda.

Don't forget your Anodes! 1 week 6 days ago #12

Danny and Linda wrote:

GipCTravelers wrote: Here is a combo Alum/Zinc rod ($22.99 - Available in 9" and 12"):

www.amazon.com/Duda-Solar-alumrod33cm-Zi...ode+rod+water+heater

They may or may not last longer (I suspect longer based on the materials), BUT, the smell DEFINITELY goes away! I used to go thru the Magnesium's in about 8-10 months. The Aluminum one I have now has been in there for about a year and it is still going strong. I see this one lasting a lot longer and no smells.

If you need to go pure zinc:

www.amazon.com/Trailer-NW-LEISURE-Saver-...2HAB2V7VPC7CAY6X69QV


I can see 1 huge problem using the anode with the petcock, every anode I've replaced was severely corroded closest to the threads, that one is apparently hollow closest to the threads so it's supposedly able to drain (which once corroded won't happen), what I see happening is the rod corrodes & breaks off laying in the bottom of the tank in a very short time, probably still doing it's designed function, but you won't know for sure.
The same anode with petcock says for Suburban or Atwood water heaters, but the Atwood is a lined tank & doesn't require an anode so an unnecessary expense.
I'll stick with cheap one, have never had any odor from the hot water.


Danny, If you are not in the right water conditions, you may be good. I would invite you here to experience the water.

Granted, if you have an Atwood water heater (with the aluminum tank), you are less likely (not eliminated) to experience problems. With the Suburban, it's not IF but WHEN.

Count your blessings...

If you and I have the exact same water heater, what other conditions cause this problem? Read all of the articles on the net and you will come to the same conclusion. the aluminum rods have solved most of our conditions for sure.

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