Water heater anode

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Mud Puppy

Well-known member
Nov 5, 2010
I bought a 2004 trailite by Rvision. Dealer said WH was propane or electric. There is wiring and a seperate switch and power to the wires on the back of the WH. there is also a plug in the outside access for WH that is not plugged into anything. I am assuming this should plug into the anode, whoever there is nothing to plug into. Can I switch the anode to one I can plug the cord into. The model # for the WH says it is only propane. Is the anode all that makes it either? Thanks for any help. Cathy
Dealers lie! Mostly because they dont know/care. My Trailite WH was only propane, I believe. If there is a small rocker switch on the external acess to the WH, you should have supplimental electric heat for the unit.
The electric switch is inside next to the water heater, I can see wires going to the back of the WH. but there is also the plug on the outside which is wired in with the switch, it is rubber with 2 holes. I think I have seen anodes with 2 prongs, this one does not have them. So can I replace the anode? Cathy
I suspect your heater had a "Hott Rod" or equivalent installed at one time. The electric element in that case, replaces the drain plug and anode, and the plug you're seeing plugs into it. If there's no socket in the drain plug to plug into, then someone has changed it out. Since the dealer claimed it had one, I would pressure them to replace it with the correct element.
Is the water heater an Atwood or a Suburban?  If an Atwood it should NOT have an anode rod.  The plug with 2 holes may be an added on Hott Rod.  A picture would help to clarify things.
It is an Attwood, and what I think is the anode screws in where there would normaly be a drain. What is a Hot Rod? I have had other TT with a drain and another one with the screw out anode. I can't get a picture at this time, have no way to up load it. Sorry, Cathy
A hot Rod is an electric heat element designed to screw in the 1/2 INCH hole the drain plug fits in, You let the heater cool, Remove the drain plug and drain it, insert the hot rod and screw it in (Tape the threads well if you have an attwood, you really do not want an electrical connection between the plug and the tank) and it burns electricity instead of propane.  This is NORMALLY only used on water heaters that do not have the AC option built in.. Though I can see where it coudl be used on one that did to improve recovery time when you have the elctricity to burn.
The Hott Rod is an electrical heating element for water heaters that are propane only.  It installs in the drain hole as you have described.
Thanks for the info I guess I will get a hot rod, since I am going to be parked for a while in one spot and don't have to pay for the elect. I would rather not pay for the propane. Cathy
Our old Eagle had a Hott Rod in it, but its in the literature in the manual.  I'm guessing back when it was built was the only way to do it, at this time it doesn't work only propane.  It plugs in an electrical outlet in the closet of all places.  I think Tom is going to replace it at some point but we haven't yet.

I agree I would like to have it when we are in a park also, saves on propane.
Thanks I have a 6 gal. however. I only need the anode not the whole kit. But thanks for your help. Cathy
Did you see this product on the same page?  It's not clear if that would to in the drain hole or not, but if you tank has the threaded hole for an electrical element, it could go there instead.
I went back and looked at it. It looks like it is for a standard water heater. Zoomed in on package view which tells the water heaters it will fit, Atwood is not one of them. I did a google search and found a place to order a Hott Rod. I would just like to look at one first. Still checking around. Thanks again Cathy
This is exactly what you are looking for but.....


If you don't have one presently installed, you need all the stuff shown in the kit.    If you really want to see one, try any RV store like Camping World.

You have mentioned several times you are looking for an 'anode' but.... Atwood tanks do NOT use anodes, they use a smaller plastic drain plug. In fact, Atwood suggests the use of one will damage the tank itself. Despite this, there are anodes on the market that specify they fit Atwood brand WH's.

Only Suburban brand tanks use an anode and have a bigger drain plug with the anode that is part and parcel of it.
I understand that an Attwood normaly has a drain plug. However my TT is wired seperatly for electric to the water heater with a cord plug in thing that must have fit a Hott Rod. When I bought the TT in Oct. I was told it was propane or electric. So when I went to use it on electric I had to do some wire tracing to figure out what was going on. Through the help of this forum I determined it had had a Hott Rod device at one time. Thanks  Cathy

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