It wasn’t until 6 months into full time RVing that we ever heard anything about a water heater anode rod. Maybe that’s common knowledge, but it’s something we definitely didn’t know about!! Of course we immediately ran out to check the status of our RV’s anode rod and to our surprise there was not one there… at all!
We assumed that since ours was not there that it had been completely corroded!
However, that was not the case. Not all RV water heater’s come with an anode rod. It’s best to check with the manufacturer of the water heater! That being said, we decided to add one to ours even though it “technically” didn’t need it. We figured it couldn’t hurt anything but do your own research! What works for us and our RV might not work for you and yours.
Rust/corrosion of metal happens when three things combine: iron, oxygen, and water, which are all plentiful in a water heater. There is some chemistry behind how the anode rod works, but essentially the anode rod is inserted as a sacrifice. The simplest way to put it is that the anode rod rusts more quickly than the tank which prevents the tank from rusting until the metal of the anode rod is totally corroded.
This is why it is crucial to check your anode rod! If your RV’s water heater requires one and has totally corroded away your tank could be rusting. Simply checking the anode rod every so often will save you a headache and some hard earned $$.
When you are replacing the anode rod it’s also a convenient time to flush out the water heater of any sediment.
Instructions for flushing water heater:
- Turn off your water & water heater
- Depressurize the tank by letting out some excess water or steam
- We used a wrench to twist off the anode rod cap (but you can use whatever tool works for you)
- Let the water drain out completely
- Wrap the pipe tape (this was included with the purchase of our anode rod) around the threads to help ensure a water tight seal when you insert the rod.
- We then used the Camco Water Heater Tank Rinser (wow that’s a mouth full lol!) to rinse out the sediment that has piled up in the tank.
- Next you’ll screw in the anode rod. This can be done with your hand to a certain point and then you’ll want to use a tool to screw it in the rests of the way and make sure it is nice and tight!
And that’s it!! It’s recommended to check your water heater about every six months or so but I would suggest doing it maybe every three months just to be on the safe side!
If you need a visual on how we flushed the water heater and changed out the anode rod make sure to check out the video as we walk you through it step by step.