Porcelain-lined steel forms the basis of RV water heaters from Suburban. Anode rods are therefore included with all of these water heaters to protect the lining.
How does it works?
When exposed to an electrolyte medium that allows the flow of ions, the process of corrosion occurs when ions in a metal move from one distinct area to another. As part of the metal’s electrolysis process, it releases electrons into a solution that contains dissolved salts and minerals, which in the case of a water heater is water. Continuing to undergo this process causes the metal to corrode. The part of the metal that is giving off negative electrons (corroding) is called the anode, and the part that receives them is called the cathode.
We can introduce a more reactive metal into the situation in order to prevent this reaction from happening to one metal (your tank). If there is a metal present that is more reactive than iron, its negative electrons will be released first into the water. As a result, corrosion won’t occur on the metal you’re protecting. Basically, you replace the metal you are protecting with a more reactive metal and the more reactive metal becomes the anode.
ALUMINUM VS. MAGNESIUM
Due to its purpose of corroding the tank, the anode rod eventually disintegrates to the point of needing replacement. There are two main options when it comes to replacing your anode rod: aluminum and magnesium.
A tank’s magnesium is typically considered to be the best protection since it is the most reactive of the two. Nevertheless, it is possible that a magnesium rod will become too reactive if the water in the area is very hard. In this case, you may need to replace it quite frequently (within a year or two). As a result, aluminum rods are commonly used in locations that have hard water. In contrast, you will want to use magnesium rods if you are going to use an RV water softener.
Whenever there is sulfer-rich water present, aluminum anode rods can be beneficial. The smell of rotten eggs is characteristic of water that is high in sulfur. Aluminum rods can help remove sulfur smells by reacting with them.