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Old 09-14-2020, 03:05 PM   #1
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Smile Atwood Water Heater

Ordered a new anode rod to prep for a hot water tuneup. In doing a little Youtube research, someone stated only the Suburban hot water heaters use anode rods since they have steel water tanks. The Atwood's only have a plastic plug and don't use anode rods because the tanks are made of aluminum. I'd like to get someone with more experience with this to chime in. If I don't need an anode rod, I assume I still need to flush the tank with the little cleaning rod thingy, or do I? What about a vinegar flush (fill, heat, drain and water rinse) for lime deposits?
Just when you think ya understand somethin'...
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Old 09-14-2020, 03:34 PM   #2
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Nope, no anode on an Atwood.

Flushing is a good thing... at least people say it is. I've never done it. Not even once with 5 RVs and over 20 years.

Do you flush your WH at home? You're supposed to. Again, I never have.

Do what makes you feel best.
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Old 09-14-2020, 03:39 PM   #3
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The Atwood aluminum water heaters do not use an anode. Yes on back flush. You should perform the flush once a year and twice is better. It would help if you added your coach information. There are some great you tube videos on this subject. I just finished a rebuild on my GCH10A-4E. If we know which water heater you have we can give specifics. You need to understand the flush procedure and you really need to make sure your pressure-temperature relief valve is in perfect working order. These water heaters may seem complicated, but it's a good idea to understand exactly how they work even if you don't do the service work.
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Old 09-14-2020, 03:45 PM   #4
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I posted about the same time creativepart did. If your tank has not been flushed and you do the simple job you will be surprised with how much crap comes out during the wash. Calcium hard water deposits will do a number on your heating element and some of the RV's have to have the Atwood water heater removed to change the relay and element in the back. Ask me how I know...
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Old 09-14-2020, 05:39 PM   #5
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Understanding the why of flushing is always good as it depends on several things whether you need to do "real" flush as a separate operation.
The why is obvious as it removes the hard water minerals that are found in some water. Largest part of that is calcium and magnesium. So part of the question of how much is needed, will depend on where as well as how you use your RV. If you stay mostly in the center of the country where it was a former lake and much of the underground is limestone, you get a lot more calcium left in the tank but if you roam the coasts where water is much soft much of the time, you get a different amount of calcium and that changes what is needed.
In a home water heater of 30 gallons up , a thick layer of limestone can be left on the bottom of the tank and that acts as an insulator between the fire on the bottom and the water. That makes it a real money saver to drain and flush the heater, even though most do not do it.
But on an RV with a 6 gallon tank there is little chance of a thick buildup on the bottom if we drain the tank after every trip or at least when we winterize each year.
Some things to consider are what water you normally run into as harder water tends to collect more minerals but it also has to involve the question of how often you drain the tank. Since I do have lots of hard water running through my tanks here in the center of the country I might collect some deposits but not if I drain the tank every time I store it for more than a couple months as the drain on RV tanks is very close to the bottom.
I never go to much flushing as I feel it gets plenty of changeout as I drain and refill.
I've never seen a heating element failure that looked like it was due to hard water as it tends to expand and crack off on those I've pulled.
Efficient heating is a concern on home systems but it is not a factor in my RV thinking.
The temperature and pressure relief valve is much more a factor on home heating where we have potential for a disastrous steam explosion if the tank ruptures but that is not going to happen on a tank that has low pressure plastic lines feeding in and out. If the valve fails to open, the next thing to fail will be the lines and long before the tank ruptures.
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Old 09-14-2020, 09:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creativepart View Post
Do you flush your WH at home? You're supposed to. Again, I never have.
I have, but not as often as I should.

The main reason I do is the water heater is a good source of emergency water, and if you have to throw away a quarter of it because it's clouded up, that's not good.

As to the RV water heater I figure draining it multiple times a year for winterization is probably good enough.
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Old 09-15-2020, 09:32 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDHarrin View Post
Ordered a new anode rod to prep for a hot water tuneup. In doing a little Youtube research, someone stated only the Suburban hot water heaters use anode rods since they have steel water tanks. The Atwood's only have a plastic plug and don't use anode rods because the tanks are made of aluminum. I'd like to get someone with more experience with this to chime in. If I don't need an anode rod, I assume I still need to flush the tank with the little cleaning rod thingy, or do I? What about a vinegar flush (fill, heat, drain and water rinse) for lime deposits?
Just when you think ya understand somethin'...
I have no affiliation with RVGeeks but their video is interesting regarding the hard water build up and vinegar flush. Sure you can get away with not flushing your tank. I live in an area with limestone in the water base so I'm more cautious I guess and the flush is so easy. After I drained my tank and proceeded with the flush I really was surprised with the junk. Everytime I moved and rotated the wand a lot more came out. While I haven't done a vinegar flush it's probably a good idea. One more point about the pressure relief valve was the hard water build up making it useless. I am glad I cleaned the threaded bore and replaced it with a new valve. Anyway, Happy Trails to you...
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Old 09-20-2020, 09:44 PM   #8
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I had my tank on my Atwood replaced avout 2 yrs ago. About a year ago I drained and flushed it, you would not believe the crap that came put of that tank! I will be doing it once a year from now on.
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Old 09-21-2020, 05:16 AM   #9
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my tiny comment on anode rods for an Atwood: There is no reason NOT to have one, and they're cheap, but I'd like to hear from someone who has had an anode installed in an Atwood for while and can report if there's been any eating away at the rod...if there is, its saving SOMETHING somewhere! ALSO< as a side note, when I wanted to comment (with this note), I logged in so I get permission, and when I
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Old 09-21-2020, 08:39 AM   #10
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https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Replacing one in a 10 gal heater on a '06 class A DP.
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