Drain and clean Suburban Water Heater (WATER HEATER CLEANING and DRAINING)


I MUST work, so I CAN play
Jul 16, 2011
Here is how I drained and cleaned out my Suburban Hot Water Tank... I was surprised what came out...

I have a 2007 Niagara and a minimally used hot water heater, I figured with little use little junk in it, WAS I WRONG... (I was told the first owners did not like a popup and sold it the first year and the second owners used it for 25 outings and rarely used the hot water tank. So I prove that sitting is as bad as using, maybe worse)

First, here is the water heater showing the drain plug.

IMAG0244a by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

Drain plug by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

This picture shows the safety release valve in the open position, by moving it 90 degrees.

IMAG0246a by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

I needed a 27mm Metric or a 1-1/16 SAE and found them both on a 4 way tire iron. The tire iron made for easy removal.

I sprayed into the whole with a stream of water from the hose and I drained and flushed until no more lime came out.

IMAG0249a by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

IMAG0251a by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

I removed about 3 cups of lime deposits from the water heater by flushing. I was shocked at how much lime was in there.

I was also shocked to see how eaten the Anode rod was

IMAG0250a by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

Here is the replacement recommendations from Suburban.

Suburban 232768 Aluminum Anode Rod by Fleetwood Tim, on Flickr

I put the used Anode Rod back in until I could get a new one bought as it is a holiday today.

I prefer not to think about drinking this water.

My next MOD will be a whole house filtration system for under $25 dollars that will filter down to 10 microns.


Active Member
Jan 20, 2010
Nice photos. I did my heater when I set up for the summer, the trash is amazing every one should do this.


Active Member
Jul 3, 2008
Did you just spray water into the drain hole to flush? I've tried flushing ours by running water into the tank with the drain open with not much luck.


I MUST work, so I CAN play
Jul 16, 2011

I tried running water into the hole where the anode came out of with no nozzle on the end of the home, it was a slow normal stream and nothing came out, I also hooked it to the city water input on the trailer and a little bit came out and it was still not much.

I almost was going to use the high pressure washer on the lowest setting and decided it may be a little much... (I still have a part of me that thinks it would work really well because it should only be an aluminum tank with not much in there but at $600 for a water heater I erred on the side of conservative)... then I hooked up the spray nozzle and set it on JET stream and more gunk came out than I ever expected... I think I blew it loose...

It took about 20 minutes of spraying to get it to come out clear...

So YES I think it was the stream of water that dislodged the lime...


I MUST work, so I CAN play
Jul 16, 2011
I was rereading my last post and just for clarification... I did not use a high pressure wash... I would love to know if anyone else has successfully...

I hooked a standard Garden hose nozzle to the end of the garden hose and used it on the jet stream and that was what produced the mess you see above... with all the lime coming out...

I still have not replaced the Anode Rod... I will do that soon... I just have no had time... I did leave the tank empty this time...

I highly recommend a 4 way tire iron with a appropriate fitting (mentioned the size above in the article... I think it is 27MM or 1 1/16Th inch... you have the required leverage to twist out the anode rod with out killing yourself or breaking a socket... as mine was quite stuck...


Super Active Member
Aug 20, 2008
SW Ontario, Canada
jenoble99 said:
Did you just spray water into the drain hole to flush? I've tried flushing ours by running water into the tank with the drain open with not much luck.

I do the same method, except, I plug the hole with my finger. When my finger gets cold; I pull my finger out, the sudden rush of water, causes enough disturbance that it takes a lot of sediment with it. Do it a couple of times and it comes out pretty clean, not perfect, but close enough.

There are also wands that could be bought, I just haven't seen one in stores locally.

Looks like someone left the tank full and it was eating away at the anode rod.

I use a 1 1/16 6point socket, with a 4" extension and 24" breaker bar. (But the 4 way lug iron is a great idea).


Life Is Good
Apr 6, 2011
When I removed my anode after purchasing club dub (ha, finally named my pop-up!!) earlier this year, all that was left was the plug...no rod to speak of...talk about being stunned... [:O]


Active Member
Jul 24, 2011
Just to be clear, that probably isn't lime deposits, it is most likely the anode rod itself, it is supposed to do that. If your anode rod is not degrading then you have a problem. Also, I believe the suburban water heaters are porcelain-lined for added corrosion protection, I think they are the only manufacturer that does this.

Dubluvr, you may have had a cap in place of an anode rod. Some people will replace the anode rod with a plain cap when winterizing, although this is less popular with bypass kits readily available.


Well, there's your problem!
May 20, 2008
Seattle, Washington
Any time the anode rod is in water it is slowly deteriorating. A lot of people don't drain their water heater between trips and if the anode is touching water it is being consumed. Drain the water heater after every trip. I also use the garden hose with nozzle method to flush the water heater on my TrailManor.


I MUST work, so I CAN play
Jul 16, 2011
Personally, (and take it with a grain of... er... lime?) but I do not think the white stuff was the anode rod... I did find pieces of that in the flush... what came out was very chalky and porous... easily discintegrated between the fingers...

What ever it was (I don't know enough to argue nor does it really matter) there was a lot...

My take away... I will drain water heater each trip with a 4 way it would take about 5 minutes... and I will certainly not leave it full long term...

To bad there is not a mod for putting a drain on the tank that would be like a faucet... just open and drain...


Active Member
Oct 20, 2010
We take the anode rod out after every trip. during the draining process i take a tooth brush and move it around inside the tank as water is pouring out. Never get much. I then stuff a piece of screen into the hole to keep the bugs out and allow it to air dry.


I MUST work, so I CAN play
Jul 16, 2011
TSC, looks to me like that may have the reducer bushing included... I gess it may be why they call it universal...


Northeast Alabama
Sep 3, 2007
I have the product that is pictured. I found that the drain does not really let the water out as well as I would like. I ended up just taking the whole thing out each trip. I have one of the wands that fits into the drain hole. Since it won't fit into the little valve, it is kind of useless. I usually drain and flush mine after each trip, and leave the drain hole opened during storage. I never considered that insects might be going in there. The screen over the drain hole sounds like it may be a good idea. It would be very difficult to remove a wasp nest from a drain opening.


Sep 16, 2011
To tfalter, Thanks for posting your pics. It helped me a lot. Got me thinking to go and look at what ours looked like. Well......I went to unscrewing the anode rod. And like a dummy....I didn't open the safety release valve. Needless to say, I got an unwanted shower of 6 gallons of water. I know the neighbor got a good laugh and I must admit, I laughed too. I'm just glad it wasn't hot water! Whew! I dried off and put the new anode rod in. All is well again. There is never a dull moment around here. :)


Hubby & Me
2006 Rockwood Freedom 2280
2007 Toyota Tundra CrewMax


New Member
Sep 28, 2011
Well that was a good read [RTM]. My wife and I are taking our new to us PUC on its maiden voyage this weekend. We bought a 1999 coleman fleetwood bayside. I am taking this advice and flushing mine out before that. Thanks to all of you [PU]


Active Member
Aug 29, 2010
tfalter said:
To bad there is not a mod for putting a drain on the tank that would be like a faucet... just open and drain...

Not for Suburban heaters I guess, since they have an anode rod, but.....

I have an Atwood heater. Atwood does not use an anode rod. Just a plastic plug. I used a PVC pipe thread adapter, and a PVC ball valve. Makes draining very easy.


I MUST work, so I CAN play
Jul 16, 2011
Wow forgot I even made this post... went the route of a fifth wheel and here I am back to a small Camper

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