What Is Sacrificial Rod In An Rv Water Heater?

If you own an RV, chances are you have heard of the sacrificial rod. But do you really know what it is and how it works?

In this article we will explore the sacrificial rod, it’s purpose and how it keeps your RV water heater safe. We will also take a look at how to install and maintain it to ensure its optimal protection. So, stay with us and read on to find out more details about sacrificial rods and how they keep your RV’s water heater running efficiently and safely.

What is a Sacrificial Rod in an RV Water Heater?

A sacrificial rod is a metal rod installed in RV water heaters that is used to protect the tank from corrosion.

This rod is also referred to as an anode rod, and it is an important part of your RV’s water heater maintenance.

How Does a Sacrificial Rod Work?

A sacrificial rod is designed to attract corrosive elements in water such as magnesium, calcium and other minerals.

These corrosive elements can corrode the parts of an RV’s water heater, so the sacrificial rod is intended to protect the other components. It is important that the rod be replaced regularly in order to extend the life of your RV’s water heater.

Types of Sacrificial Rods

The two types of sacrificial rods typically used in RV water heaters are aluminum and magnesium. The exception to this is in boats and other marine equipment, which may use a type of zinc rod. The type of rod used for your RV will depend on the specific RV water heater model.

Signs that a Sacrificial Rod Needs to be Replaced

  • A significant reduction in hot water pressure.
  • Rust colored water coming from the hot taps.
  • Decreased lifespan of your hot water tank.

  • Strange smells when water is heated.
If you notice any of these signs, it is important to replace your sacrificial rod as soon as possible.

How to Replace a Sacrificial Rod

The exact process for replacing the sacrificial rod in your RV water heater will vary depending on the specific water heater model. However, the basic procedure remains the same.
  • Turn off the power or gas to the water heater.
  • Drain or flush the tank.
  • Unscrew the anode rod from the tank.
  • Inspect the rod for damage or corrosion.
  • Purchase and install a replacement sacrificial rod.
It is recommended that you replace the sacrificial rod at least once a year or every two years depending on the water conditions.


A sacrificial rod or anode rod is an important part of an RV water heater’s maintenance. The rod protects the water heater from corrosion and should be inspected and replaced regularly. If you notice any of the signs described above, it is important to replace your sacrificial rod as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to your water heater.

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