Water heater question

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by Lightfoot, Sep 19, 2005.

  1. Lightfoot

    Lightfoot New Member

    I have a 94 Coachmen Santara. The water heater gives the water a foul smell. When I drained and flushed the heater tank, I kept getting fine black particles in the water -- almost like coal dust, but rubbed between finger and thumb, turned almost greasy.

    Is this the tank committing suicide or perhaps an anode deteriorating? Can anybody out there shed some light?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Water heater question

    The first part is a question. What make is your water heater? If you have a Subruban you have a steel tank and you should have an anode but if you have an Atowood water heater than the tank is aluminum clad and no anoder should ever be used. If you have an anode, it is very simple to look at it to see if it has deteriorated as it will be attached to the metal drain plug. An Atwood will have a plastic drain plug, or should have.

    The mineral build-up in a water heater and the deteriorated anode in a Suburban is usually white in color so you have something that is quite diffeent? Have you recently sanitized the water system? It sounds to me as though you probably have an algee growing inside of the water heater. That is by far the most common cause of an odor from the water heater. If you do not know how to sanitize, you can find the directions posted on the web site in my signature. It is located under the "Full-time RV Living" section of the drop-down menu.
     
  3. Lightfoot

    Lightfoot New Member

    Water heater question

    Kirk,

    Thanks for the quick response. My heater is an Atwood with a plastic drain plug. One of your replies to another person's question seemed to imply that Atwood's could have an anode, but should not. Is there any way an anode can be in there, but not attached to the drain plug?
     
  4. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Water heater question

    The only anodes that I have ever seen for an RV water heater are attached to the drain plug, so you don't have one. And if you add one you will void all warranty from Atwood. You can vist the Atwood web site to confirm that if you doubt. Where the problem comes is that with "dissimilar" metals there is a chemical bonding that takes place due to electron flow between them. In time that metal plug that holds an anode will bond to the aluminum of the tank and it will not come back out. You will then need a new tank for the water heater. Many RV owners do add an anode to their Atwood water heater as they are sold at all RV supply stores. Atwood went to the extent to change to a different size drain plug to avoid this problem and now there are anodes to fit the Atwood. As a result, you do see it happen, but it is not a good thing. There is no benefit to putting one in and there is a major problem if you put it in and leave it there too long.
     
  5. Lightfoot

    Lightfoot New Member

    Water heater question

    Thanks again for the info on the anode. And, I don't doubt you for a minute. I'll just sanitize and see what happens.
     

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