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Old 07-07-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


I have a 119-gallon electric WH. It was installed in 1990, stands about 63" tall and is used about six months a year (then drained for the winter season).

I had not thought about replacing the anode rod until I started looking for a possible replacement unit (just to get an idea about options and costs), and came across a video suggesting replacing it every two years or so.

How often should an anode rod be replaced? Is it a matter of how many gallons flow through the heater, or how long water is sitting in the heater?

Should the anode be made out of aluminum or magnesium? I was thinking I might have to drill a hole in the ceiling to remove it, but then I saw one on ebay that appeared to have hinged sections.

What are best practices for this.

Thanks!

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Old 07-07-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


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How often should an anode rod be replaced? Is it a matter of how many gallons flow through the heater, or how long water is sitting in the heater?
How often varies and yes both time and flow come into play.

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What are best practices for this.
Depends on how much of a PITA it is to gain access to the WH top and to remove the old one... but it's rarely easy or fun to do.

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I have a (TBD # of gallons) electric WH. It was installed in 1990
At 23years+ that WH is on borrowed time regardless of the number or type of anode rods. If you have reason to be concerned... lean toward replacing soon.

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Old 07-07-2013, 02:15 PM   #3
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


Thanks TarheelTerp.

I think you are right. This WH has seen its better days. I am thinking in terms of how best to maintain the next heater when its time has come and to care for another heater in my winter home. I will have to create clearance for pulling the anode if it is one long rod.

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Old 07-07-2013, 02:25 PM   #4
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


Why in the world do you need that big a tank? That's double the normal sized heater.
Another big factor and the most important one is what's in your water that is effecting the anode.
I've never once had to change one in one of my personal home heaters, but had to replace a few in other peoples homes that had corrosive water.
With a water test you could determine which type will work for you.
The one simple DIY thing you can do to any water heater is drain some of the water out of the bottom of the tank at least once a year. That's where the solids settle and can short out an element or cause a gas heater to take longer to heat the water.
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Old 07-07-2013, 02:26 PM   #5
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


If you want to replace it plan on spending maybe 25--50 bucks if you think it will help. At this point I wouldn't mess with it I would just plan on replacing the water heater. If you want to replace the anode rod post back and we'll tell you how to.
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Old 07-07-2013, 03:16 PM   #6
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


Yep, 119 gallons is pretty huge. I live in North central Minnesota and use an off-peak water heating program -- heating power is on only from 11:30 PM to 8:30 AM at ~half the normal cost per KW. But one of the requirements is that your heater must hold at least 100 gallons.

I have my own deep water well. The water is pretty clean -- no odor, no rust stains. The heater does get flushed out every fall when we drain the plumbing and close up the cabin till spring.

I think I will pull the anode when I replace this heater, just to see its condition and gain the experience.

How do water heaters fail? What are the odds that when a heater fails, it will just begin to leak a little?

What about anode metal -- aluminum, magnesium, or perhaps zink? What would be the benefit of one metal over another? Do anodes come in sections with hinges or only straight rods?
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


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Originally Posted by Daneel View Post
Yep, 119 gallons is pretty huge.
Do you really need that though?
Rate bargains aside... heating 30 gallons actually used will cost 1/4 of 120

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I have my own deep water well. The water is pretty clean...
How do water heaters fail?
Most of it is based in water condition

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What are the odds that when a heater fails, it will just begin to leak a little?
99%? It'll do other things too but the leaking is the one that matters.

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What about anode metal...
Do anodes come in sections with hinges or only straight rods?
Anodes are zinc... just like with power boats.
I've never seen a hinged anode rod.
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Old 07-07-2013, 04:58 PM   #8
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


Here is a link to (what appears to be) an A O Smith anode rod that is hinged and magnesium...
www.waterpumpsnow.com/gas-valves-hvac-products/a-o-smith-gas-valves/a-o-smith-9005973005-gas-valve/?gclid=CPrjtJWgnrgCFeU-MgodNGAA1A

I have not questioned whether the rate cut on hot water is a real cost-advantage. Thanks for the idea! When this one fails, I will consider putting in a used 20-gallon electric heater and switching to demand heating (for just the two of us) for a month to see.

In the long run, I expect to go back to a 100-gallon unit. When we have four young female visiters, there is never enough hot water and I am almost thankful we run out!
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Old 07-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #9
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Anode rod replacement - how often?


Seldom do water heaters rupture---(but it happens) most often they just start to leak.

The ones that do rupture happen after 9 pm on a holiday weekend when you have company.

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