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Old 05-24-2010, 01:53 PM   #1
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Replace hot water heater anode?


The sacrificial anode on my (gas-fired) hot water heater has a hex head on it, so it looks like it could be replaced.

Am I right? If I replace it, say, every 2 or 3 years with a new one (where would I buy a new one?), would that extend the life of the unit?

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Old 05-24-2010, 07:09 PM   #2
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Replace hot water heater anode?


Yes you should inspect the anode rod and replace it as you described.

If the rod still has a lot of material on it when you take it out, sand it lightly over its entire surface and then put it back for another year.

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Old 05-24-2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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Replace hot water heater anode?


IT TAKES A 1&1/16" SIX POINT SOCKET,

WITH A VERY STRONG CHEATER BAR THESE ARE TIGHTEN AT FACTORY

USING A IMPACT WRENCH
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PLUMB ANY PIPE, SNAKE ANY DRAIN, MAKE COLD WATER BOIL ON A FREEZING DAY
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Old 05-25-2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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Replace hot water heater anode?


If the anode has been (partially) sacrificed, will that in fact extend the life of the tank? It seems to me it should, given the purpose of that rod.

Has anyone here actually done this?

Where do you buy a new anode? Assuming I shut off the water at the intake of the house, and maybe drain the pipes, could I simply unscrew the old one and put in a new one, without risking a big water spill?
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Old 05-25-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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Replace hot water heater anode?


YES YOU CAN !

YES IT HELPS THE TANK LAST MUCH LONGER !

THE ONLY PROBLEM IS TRYING TO GET THE OLD ONE

OUT, YOU CAN ALSO GET A TYPE THAT SLIDES INTO

THE HOT WATER HOLE AND IS EASIER TO REPLACE

TO GET A REPLACEMENT YOU CAN GO TO THE MFG'S

WEBSITE OR CHECK WITH A LOCAL PLUMBING SUPPLY

HOUSE, THESE ARE UNIVERSAL FIT SO JUST ABOUT

ANY BRAND WILL STILL FIT INTO YOUR WTR/HTR !
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Old 05-25-2010, 11:34 AM   #6
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Replace hot water heater anode?


This all sounds great. BUT, if it's as great as it appears to be, and as easy, how come more people don't do this, and how come it isn't more widely known?
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Old 05-25-2010, 12:56 PM   #7
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Replace hot water heater anode?


Probably because they just don't know. And some water heaters don't have an anode rod at all.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:41 PM   #8
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Replace hot water heater anode?


I'm very familiar with sacrificial anodes as we used them in many pieces of industrial equipment to protect heat exchangers, etc. I also have replaced many electric water heaters ( I don't do gas) and have removed the anodes from the old unit just to see what condition they were in. I have seen some really bad condition water heaters with rusted cabinets and all types of gunk on top at the fittings. BUT, I have never found a water heater around here in which the anode had been even half eaten away. This may be due to water conditions in different parts of the country and the way different municipalities treat their water. Hmmm, the would rule out well water though. Understanding the purpose of the anodes I would say that there is a definite advantage to checking/changing them out on some type of timed cycle. Removing them is not an easy chore, as stated. I use a 3/4" drive pull handle with a six point socket to do this and holding the tank unit still is not easy. David
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:12 PM   #9
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Replace hot water heater anode?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_allthumbs View Post
This all sounds great. BUT, if it's as great as it appears to be, and as easy, how come more people don't do this, and how come it isn't more widely known?
Most Water Heater manufacturers if not all recommend flushing out a Water Heater at least once a year. How many people do you know that actually do it? To go further, changing out an anode is not that easy. As mentioned it is set in by the factory, and getting it to break loose can be very hard to do, especially if you are trying to hold the heater and break it loose. So basically, what I am saying is. Its harder than it sounds, and people are lazy, or just not capable, or ignorant, or lazy(did I say that already).
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Old 05-26-2010, 08:02 AM   #10
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Replace hot water heater anode?


OK, so if messing with the anode is impractical, are there any workable suggestions for improving the life of the unit?

A plumber I consulted last year said that it was a good idea to drain a little water from the bottom every month.

What do people here say? Good idea, or useless?
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:19 AM   #11
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Replace hot water heater anode?


Reviving a dead thread to point out that there's actually no such thing as a "hot water heater."

It's just a water heater (you don't have to heat hot water).
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Old 02-16-2011, 03:08 PM   #12
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Replace hot water heater anode?


I have run into the problem of unsuccessfully trying to get the anode rod out because the whole tank would turn. I have not tried the following. I do not have an air compressor at the job site so I cannot use an impact wrench.

Put a long extension (pipe) on a cheater bar and give it an extremely brief and extremely forceful yank but only for an extremely small amount of (degrees of) rotation.

The idea is so inertia helps keep the tank, still full of water, from rotating and if the tank does rotate anyway then I don't rotate it far enough to break off the gas pipe down below.

I want to ask some questions before going ahead and trying it:
(1) Is there danger I would rip the anode fitting right out of the top of the tank tearing an irreparable hole?
(2) Would a brief forceful yank have a greater chance of shattering the cheater bar or the socket wrench socket*?

OT: I am still looking for a cheater bar without lots of springiness, when I started looking for one I was trying to get off overly tight (automotive) lug nuts.

* Who said that "hot water heater" was incorrect wording?
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-16-2011 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:39 PM   #13
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Replace hot water heater anode?


Maybe an omen to buy a new tank or a warning to not proceed?

Using a socket tapping the end not excessively hard with a metal hammer. I've found to help break loose rusted things and less likely to damage from too much torque...

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