Tip #24, Why the different life spans of Anodes in Water Heaters....

Submitted: Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 03:21
ThreadID: 121829 Views:2700 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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And, a tip on changing them over, as there seems to be some confusion on the matter...

Bushtracker sez....A couple of things that may help you....
First of all, it is not harshness of the water that accounts for the life of the Anode, as it seems that many think, evidenced in a previous Posting Thread. Maybe I should explain why the differing life spans of the anode and why it cannot be predetermined and should get an annual inspection...

This is a sacrificial anode in terms of Anode and Cathode... And in this case we are combating electrolytic corrosion.... In other words, when you are on a poor power supply and there is a bit of stray current around, what actually happens is a bit of electrolysis of dissimilar metals.... And without getting too carried away with Chemistry and Physics, the less "Noble" of the metals on the "Periodic Tables" of "The Elements", will donate metal to the more "Noble" of the metals.... This stray current that carries the process from the Anode ( the Donor) to the Cathode ( the Recipient) is what we are battling with the Anode. The Anode is sacrificed instead of metal inside your water heater... This amount of stray current and how clean your power supply is on the Neutral and Ground, or if you have any appliances leaking a bit of stray current onto the neutral or ground, will determine the life span of your Anode.... Harshness or hardness of water may deposit some calcium on the Anode, but only if it is not being worked by the process of electrolysis... It should just be eaten away, as minor salts in the water supply conduct stray current which picks up the metal off the Anode and deposits it somewhere else... In the case of the zinc it will pretty much flake off of where it is deposited in time.... This same process I have described is a microcosm of what is done in the "Electro-Plating" process that most would be familiar with...

On the process of changing it, just use a bit of Teflon pipe dope, and it will easily come out next time for an annual inspection.... Do not overtighten it, nice and snug, fill the threads with white Teflon pipe dope, and no problem next time....
Leave the pumps off when you do the process, and water heater cold of course...
And have the replacement ready to go, and you pull one out and put the other back in without wasting water... 50% gone is still a good anode... Much less, say 25% of new and I would replace it, they are not very expensive... About $25 from memory, and can save the tank on the HWS...

Cheers from the "Lone Ranger" at Bushtracker

Cheers from the "Lone Ranger"
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Reply By: Grumblebum & Dragon - Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 11:17

Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 11:17
Thanks Steve,

I will add one to the spares list. Will collect the purchasing info when we collect the BT in May

Enjoy Victoria... never been there yet other than brief fly in/out business trips.

Regards

John and Jean
AnswerID: 565989

Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 02:04

Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 02:04
Hello John and Jean,
You can if you want, but it is not high on the list as they are just about available Australia wide and you may not even need on in the first year. Beware of the "Pack Rat" syndrome, and this is in that category of what I would say is not worth dragging with you. Even if you find it gone in a year, it will not hurt to run without it until you get another in a week or two.... The process of electrolysis is a slow one... The truth is we have never seen it in 8 years, but then the Anode is usually looked after.. And we carry them here all the time.... About a 50% chance of needing it in the first year, maybe 75% in the second year... And some are fine 3 years later...

Leave it on the shelf and save another unnecessary kilo that you can do without.... Would be the advice of the "Lone Ranger" Ha!

If you just want to get rid of the money, give to us anyway, and leave it here on the shelf until you need it... Ha! Yea right...! Cheers...stg
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Reply By: Tellem Bugrem - Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 01:58

Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 01:58
Anode,
Just puicked up a spre anode from Hodgeson's Caravans Newcastle for $35 then checked the price at Australian Motor Homes at Bennets Green....$38.

Are they cheaper in Qld?

Cheers........Rob
Leaving on next trip soon

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Follow Up By: Bushtracker - Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 02:12

Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 02:12
Oh, wow, maybe you caught me out on that one.... I have not priced one in Donkeys Ears, and thought they were about $25.... I am getting old, scary!

Just called in Peter and found the price has gone up.... Two reasons:

1) China is eating up the metals and there have been 20% increases in each of the last couple of years....

2) And the Anode is actually bigger now.... So you caught me out on that one, they have gone up quite a bit...

We stock them for $33 currently...

Oh well, the "Lone Ranger" is not up on all prices of all widgets.... Not my department... Cheers.

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Reply By: Taj Mah Tracker - Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 22:15

Sunday, Mar 13, 2005 at 22:15
We got a spare anode from Camac Brisbane for about $20 recently.
cheers
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