Around-Oz: Living the Dream!

DIY - Changing the Sacrificial Annode - Suburban Hot Water Service

Without doubt the USA made Suburban hot water system is the most popular brand for use in motorhomes. We are onto number three and have had zero troubles over the years, however we have religiously replaced the sacrificial annode at least once every year.

The photo above left shows an annode after six months use as compared with a brand new one. A new unit is not expensive at around $28.00. If you are on a tight budget and have a plumbing mate just ask him for all his "old" domestic annodes. These are very long and usually wear away on the far end only, so they can be cut down to suit your Suburban.

The photo above left shows where the annode goes. Sadly you do need an odd size socket or spanner - 1 1/16" AF. The photo below left shows the annode being removed. Before starting make certain that you turn the pump off and depressurise the system by turning a hot water tap on. After completely removing the annode, close your tap and turn the pump on. Water should gush out of the annode hole bringing tons of revolting gunk with it! It actually cures you for life from using hot water to cook with or making a cuppa.

As soon as the water runs clear turn the pump off and screw in the new annode. Most annodes come with Teflon sealing tape already on the thread. If it is damaged, missing or looks iffy simply put a new bit on - you get it at any plumbing supply shop. Turn on the pump and partly turn on one hot water tap. Now the water will flow very slowly. Don't panic as this is normal. All that is happening is the hot water tank is filling up. When the pump stops when you turn off the tap you will need to "bleed" all air from the tank. Just lift up the handle on the valve (usually in the top left) and wait until water flows continuously. Clean up your mess and the job is finished. This is an ideal project for those new to DIY.

Bob & Chrissy Eustace

HEALTH WARNING:- To avoid nasty smells developing in your water system under NO CIRCUMSTANCES use an annode made for marine use. We always buy ours from Coast to Coast as they don't sell marine ones, (in Brisbane at least!) so there is zero chance of a mix up.


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Last updated: January 17, 2008
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