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I have a Bradford-White water heater that has the anode integrated into the hot-water outlet.

I bought a new anode and was about to replace it. My problem is that the outlet appears to screw into the tank and the tank is just below a thin lid that covers the top of the water heater. My fear is that if I cannot see the junction between the outlet and the tank, I will not be able to see if there is a small leak.

Has anyone managed to remove top of a regular water heater? It looked easy, but my lid doesn't seem to come off. I can't tell if it is just binding against the existing hot and cold outlet/inlet pipes, or if it there is something else holding it in.
 

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If you unscrew the hot water nipple from the tank using a Stillson wrench (pipe wrench) will the old anode rod come out with it?

Letting you insert the replacement anode?

Without having to disassemble the water heater outer shell?
 
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