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Old 02-21-2010, 02:29 PM   #1
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


I've noticed recently when we run hot water in the bath that now and then there is a quick burst of dark-colored (seemingly dark blue to purple) water, but it quickly reverts to clear water.

Is this a sign of a deteriorating sacrificial anode in the water heater? Ours is a GE natural-gas water heater that's few years old -- anode has never been serviced. I gather it's not a big deal to shut off the cold water supply, unscrew the anode and replace it?

Also -- are these anodes manufacturer- and model-specific, or more generic? Wondering where I'd need to go to get one.

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Old 02-21-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


Did you have lots of air/gas come out of your hot water lines after the new hot water heater was installed? Also, was there a popcorn popping type of sound coming from inside the tank when it was heating?

We had a new hot water heater installed a few months ago, and I have the problems I mentioned. The manufacturer's (Bradford White) tech department said that the anode is getting aggressively eaten/corroded, which is what the crackling is (the electrolysis eating away at the rod) and it produces hydrogen gas as a byproduct, which is what all the air in our hot water lines is. So I assume I'm going to tear through this anode pretty quickly. Just wanted to see if you had the same problem.

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Old 02-21-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


I'm not remembering problems like that with our water heater. I wonder what would cause your aggressive corrosion -- pH of the water, or mineral content?

In our case, the water heater is a few years old so it makes sense to me that the anode is ready for replacement. The only thing that struck me, though, is that the dark-colored water we see in the bath appears in just a single quick burst on any given day. I don't know much about anode corrosion, but I'd expect the discoloration to mix more completely with the water in the heater rather than appear as a quick burst like this. For what it's worth, plumbing is copper.
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:31 PM   #4
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


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I'm not remembering problems like that with our water heater. I wonder what would cause your aggressive corrosion -- pH of the water, or mineral content?

In our case, the water heater is a few years old so it makes sense to me that the anode is ready for replacement. The only thing that struck me, though, is that the dark-colored water we see in the bath appears in just a single quick burst on any given day. I don't know much about anode corrosion, but I'd expect the discoloration to mix more completely with the water in the heater rather than appear as a quick burst like this. For what it's worth, plumbing is copper.
I took the anode out of mine. Works just fine.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:21 PM   #5
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


do you have galvanized pipes? could be rust in the pipe
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:28 PM   #6
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


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do you have galvanized pipes? could be rust in the pipe
I believe it's all copper.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:33 PM   #7
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


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I believe it's all copper.
How about the water service to your house?
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:56 PM   #8
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


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How about the water service to your house?
Can't say for sure what's on the other side of the meter.

From the direction of questioning, am I right in drawing the conclusion that you guys think it's unlikely a deteriorated water heater anode would create the symptoms I described?
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:40 PM   #9
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


The only way to tell if the anode rod needs replacement is by unscrewing it and looking at it.

Drain the sediment from the tank now and every few months. Don't use hot water for a few hours to let the sediment settle, then open the water heater drain valve wide and let the water run until it is clear. The second, third, etc. times it shouldn't be more than two or three gallons.

All I can think of is that some blue colored sediment got in.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:35 AM   #10
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


The inside of water heater tanks are glass lined. Unless you're on the verge of developing a serious leak, the amount of rust you're describing seems a little unlikely coming out of a water heater.

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Old 02-22-2010, 07:52 AM   #11
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


Only in that one shower?
Only with the hot water?
Any recent plumbing work done?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Driller1 View Post
I took the anode out of mine. Works just fine.
You will shorten the life of the tank and you will void the warranty. There will likely be no difference in the hot water.
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:09 AM   #12
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


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You will shorten the life of the tank and you will void the warranty. There will likely be no difference in the hot water.
Not quite AS dangerous, but definitely along the same line of thinking when people plug their T&P because it's dripping.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:07 AM   #13
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


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Only in that one shower?
Only with the hot water?
Any recent plumbing work done?

You will shorten the life of the tank and you will void the warranty. There will likely be no difference in the hot water.
Mine is 10 + years old.

No problem yet.
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Old 02-27-2010, 06:12 PM   #14
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


Most of the time the anode rod is not needed it is there because it is a sacareficial element that will not always be consumed. Is your water agressive or acidic Ph, low Alk, -charged? MIght just be a extra part/ not needed .
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:58 PM   #15
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Sign of deteriorating water heater anode?


Anode rod is for electrolysis, not acid or bacteria/crap water/ whatever.

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