Tuesday, September 3, 2013

RV Maintenance - checking the hot water heater anode rod

This is going to be a short post.  We're leaving Bluewater Lake State Park tomorrow, heading to a park a little beyond Grants, NM for six days.  I'll post about it when we are settled there and let you know how it is.

Today was the "get ready" day, dumping, filling fresh water, putting everything away, etc.  I tried to start my generator again this morning, the first time it was started and I made coffee, and then I ran it for about 30 minutes with the A/C on so it ran with a good load.  Then an hour later, I tried to turn it on again so I could use my hair dryer and it wouldn't work.  :(  This is the second time since my "Level II" service two weeks ago that it won't start.  I called Rocky Mountain Cummins and left a message for the man who helped last time, and five hours later I haven't heard anything back from him.  I've never had this problem before, the generator not starting, and am thinking I might have to drive all the way to Albuquerque again for them to look at it and FIX it.  I'm not happy about that, if that's what I end up having to do.  :(

On to a happier subject:  I am very proud of myself for remembering to check on my Suburban hot water heater's anode rod.  You may not remember, but last year when I was here at Bluewater,  A Certified Master RV Technician, Ron, was here camping and he checked The Palms over to see if anything needed attention.  I had never checked/changed the anode rod, and when he unscrewed it and took it out, there was nothing left but the center rod.  The water in the tank was FULL of grit and pieces of STUFF.  Click on the link to see the photos of my used up anode rod, and what a new one looks like.  That post is here.

I had bought the special wrench Ron told me to get - you need it to get the anode rod out - and this thing is huge. Here is is laying in front of my laptop which is 15 inches wide:

This wrench is big and pretty heavy - who needs a gun on board when you have one of these?  :)

Ron had given me the information that I needed to buy it, and it was nice to have it handy yesterday.  This is the brand I bought, I'm sure there are others:

So yesterday morning I turned off the water, opened the kitchen and bathroom hot and cold water so any water in the pipes would flow out, and then I unscrewed the anode rod.  There was still quite a bit left on the rod, probably 60% was left, but there was also a lot of gritty water that flowed out, pushing some pieces of stuff, too.  I let it continue to drain until it was empty, then screwed the anode rod back in, and tightened it with my wrench.

Then I turned on the water switch, and turned off the faucets.  When the water heater seemed full, there was a tiny leak, and I'm watching it.  I remember last year the same thing happened, so I'm hoping it will stop by itself.  I turned on the hot water tap in the kitchen, and all the air in the lines came out, then a good stream of water started flowing.

Everything seems okay, so I think I did it right.  :)  Don't forget to check yours - they say twice a year, but I'm thinking once a year will be enough for The Palms. 

I should have taken some photos, but didn't think of it.  I will next time when I check it again.  I emptied the tank, but didn't flush it, which I will do next time when I replace the anode rod.

So...  after I finished up and put everything away, I got on-line and found the Anode Rod that my hot water heater uses.  Of course, in the Suburban documentation for my unit, it was recommended to get only Suburban replacement parts, but I also read some reviews and it seemed the people who ordered the Suburban anode rods felt they lasted longer.  So I ordered two of them, and they should be arriving in a week or so.  I've set a Task in Outlook to check the rod again in three months, and I'll flush the tank whether or not I need to switch out the anode rod.  Now when I need to replace it, I'll have the wrench to get it on and off and also a new anode rod to install.

If you are interested in looking at this item, I've put a link you can follow on the right side bar, along with all the other things I use and recommend.  Just make sure if you are purchasing a replacement anode rod for your hot water heater, that you order the correct one.  Mine might be different than the one you'll need.   :)

Here's Katie, sleeping in the sunshine, she loves this spot:

Hey Mom, you wanna play ball?

My last post welcomed a new blogger:  WELCOME to our newest Follower, Roger Bond!  Roger doesn't have any information shown, so I can't give his blog a plug, but Roger, if you do have a blog, please let me know!  Thank you for following along with me and Katie - Welcome aboard!  :)

Roger contacted me with the information that he has started a new blog - I wanted to be sure to post his new blog address - starting a new blog is so exciting, picking all the things to make it your own, adding gadgets (I'm still doing that), and it's also fun for readers to start at the beginning with a new blogger.  Here is the address:  Musings  Thanks for letting me know, Roger, I'm looking forward to following along with you and reading future posts!  :)

Welcome also to our two newest followers!

davidtimmonsva, who lives on a farm in Virginia with his wife Edna.  Dave, I really enjoyed reading your blog from start to present this morning.  How lucky you are to live on a farm. Great photos - I loved your bird photos, Dave, but especially liked the raccoon who is holding onto the bird feeder pole with one foot on the pole and one foot on the ground.  What a kick!  (Of course, you probably wish he would leave your bird feeder alone!)  You've taken some fabulous shots of wildlife.  I am going to enjoy following you and Edna as you post more of your activities and pictures. An RV was mentioned, but I didn't see any photos of it.  Do you travel much?

Sheila deLaneuville, who is "Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home."  Sheila and her husband and two dogs live in Colorado and travel in their 1998 Beaver Marque motorhome, The Rambling Rose, six months a year, mainly in the winter.  Her blog is named Wolf Song Blog, and Sheila details their life at home in Colorado and on the road.  She is also a birder, and has some beautiful photos of birds.  Right now they are getting ready to start the big job of preparing their rig for their winter travels.  Sheila, I'm looking forward to following you as you begin your winter travels!

From me and Katie, have a great Tuesday, everyone!  :)


  1. That looks like a pretty technical wrench to me! When I had a 5th wheel I kept reading blogs that talking about checking the anode, and I finally asked a tech about it. Fortunately for me it turned out my water heater didn't have an anode rod. Congratulations for being able to deal with it yurself.

  2. You are really getting good at getting all your maintenance stuff handled. Jim has his special wrench for the anode thingie also. But he has lots of special wrenches and everything else. lol

  3. You sure are learning how to do a lot of this stuff yourself. Before long we'll see you helping all the fellas with their rigs. Way to go!

  4. We must have been sending each other messages over the air waves. LOL

    I was just the other day talking with someone about flushing and cleaning my hot water tank. I've never done it before !!

    There is a great video on YouTube by RV Geeks that explains a step by step instructions on how to do it.

    So I got my 5 gallons of vinegar today. Tomorrow I will get that wand thingie they talk about.

    Mine is an Atwood but they have a video for the Suburban also. Here's the link if you want to watch it.


  5. I'm forever impressed with that level of DIY. Good luck with the generator - it's probably an easy fix.


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