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It is that spring time of the year again here in Michigan which means its time to get the Shamrock / Roo camper out, de-winterized it and get it all ready for another fun season of camping! In this article we will go through the process of checking and replacing the travel trailers water heater anode rod.

How Often Should a RV Water Heater Anode Rod Be Replaced?

The frequency at which the anode rod should be replaced in your campers water heater will vary. This is due to the hardness of water that is being used in your travel trailer. It is good practice to check it every 6 months to a year.

Experts recommend the anode to be replaced when it is roughly 50% pitted and gone. The purpose to an anode rod is to prevent damages to the RV’s water heater components.

Most anode rods are made of magnesium in which they are designed to prolong the life of your water heater. The water corrodes the water heater naturally but the anode is designed to protect this from happening by being corroded itself instead of the hot water heater. This process is called cathodic protection.

This $15-40 preventive method is preferred as a new water heater will run you around $1,000.

Tools Needed to Replace the RV’s Water Heater Anode

How to Replace a Travel Trailer or RV’s Water Heater Anode Rod

Always make sure the propane and power is turned off to the water heater. Run the hot water in a faucet until the water is cold unless the tank is empty from being winterized then skip this step.

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Anode

Replacement anode rod.

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Relief Valve

Open the pressure relief value to release the pressure in the tank.

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Remove Anode

Remove the anode rod from the tank which will require a 1 1/16″ socket wrench and allow the water to drain.

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - End of Life Anode

Here is an example of the anode rod that is being replaced. I probably could have gotten another year out of it but I had a replacement on hand so in efforts of continuing to protect my investment in the water heater I decided to replace it.

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Teflon Tape

Take the Teflon plumbers tape and wrap it around the anode, counterclockwise (opposite direction it gets screwed back into the water heater).

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Insert New Anode

Insert the new anode in the water heater and finger tighten (clockwise).

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Snug Anode

DO NOT OVER TIGHTEN, just snug it up so it is tight enough to keep water from coming out. You do not want to strip the threads.

Run the hot water to get any air bubbles out of the system.

Own - Replace Shamrok Roo Water Heater Anode - Close Cover

That is all there is to replacing a Shamrock / Roo / RV / Travel Trailers water heater anode in which you have prolonged the life of the unit. Close the cover in which at this point, it is OK to either turn the power or gas back on to get the tank to heat back up.


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I have a bachelor's degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies...I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.

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