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Old 06-13-2019, 08:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 149
Suburban Water Heater Maintenance

Wish I knew about this earlier.

I completely overlooked the need to check and replace the sacrificial magnesium anode in our water heater since the van was converted three years ago; SMB made no mention of it during the delivery debriefing nor is there any reference to anything about an anode in the owner’s manual. So almost three years later our sink faucet starts sputtering, with low, then intermittent and finally zero flow. Found white particles lodged inside the faucet head. Cleaned them out, got back to normal. It kept recurring. Analyzed the particles, found them to be magnesium in makeup. At that point I realized that an anode was probably the source. Sure enough, the heater anode was mostly eroded away, with a ton of white corrosion product chunks spewing out of the heater tank as it drained.

Cleaned out as much as I could the loose debris inside the tank, but can still feel gunk caked in the interior. Question is, what is a good way to dissolve this buildup? I don’t want to introduce anything that might damage components. I’ve seen mention of vinegar and citrus-based cleaners on other threads here but nothing definitive. It seems to me that as the anode does its job, corrosion products from it will naturally drift off into the tank. What do people do to keep the stuff from accumulating?

Periodic draining and annual anode replacement is now in my schedule!
Jack K is offline   Reply With Quote
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