Ever since my sister had to replace all the faucets in her RV because the anode rod in the water heater had totally disintegrated, I’ve replaced the rod in mine every season. But there’s another item that should be considered: the electric heating element.
We stay in state parks with hookups, so we pretty much always use the electric heater for our hot water needs. There were some bad smells from the hot water on our last trip so I decided to see if the element had failed. We were still getting hot water but with a bad smell. The picture below shows what it looked like after four years of use. Even though it is a more complex job to change it out, your readers may want to consider changing the element as well as the anode rod. —George, 2019 Forest River Micro Lite 21FBRS
Thanks for the tip and photo. Yes, if you have an electric/liquid propane model water heater, you should also check the heating element each year as well as the anode rod in Suburban models. Atwood does not have an anode rod but does have the heating element in the 120-volt models.
If heating rod goes bad
Another issue with a heating rod is if it does go bad, the element can short out and ruin your water heater. So, it is a good idea to remove the heating element and the anode rod each year and inspect them for wear and any separation or an open circuit, which means there is a break in the metal.
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RV’s water heater doesn’t get water hot on LP but does on 120 volts. Why?
My Suburban water heater (16 gallons) works, but when it uses propane, the hot water isn’t nearly as hot as it is when heated using 120 volts. Is there a way to increase the water temperature when using propane? Thank you in advance. —Terry, 2018 Arctic Fox 29-5T
Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and the author of the “RV Handbook.”
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