Does anyone change anode rods?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by ballvalve, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Looks like the anode rods determine the water heater life almost entirely.

    Seems like if you change the rod on a 6 year water heater on the 5th year, you might get 12 years, and so on.

    12 year heaters have 2 rods. Same tank.

    Also seems like aluminum rods poison the hot water if you use it for cooking. Cheaper than magnesium, so used a lot.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2010
  2. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    I inspect mine every couple years - haven't had to replace them yet.

    There's an interesting web site, waterheaterrescue(dotcom) on which the owner says with proper flushing and anode inspection/replacement, you can keep a WH alive for decades. He sells anodes on the site as well.
  3. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Judging by replys, the answer is nobody bothers to check anodes.

    Pulled my anode on a NEW 6 year water heater, it only 26 inches long, the tank COULD accept a 48"

    Designed to last maybe 4 years so the tank blows in 6.1 years.

    Pulled another on one that was eating elements, it was gone. Looks like the elements were the "anode rod"

    Seems to be a big mistake not to check them often. Use an impact wrench.

    http://www.waterheaterrescue.com/pages/WHRpages/English/Longevity/water-heater-anodes.html

    Great info but pretty high prices.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  4. Bowsher1973

    Bowsher1973 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    VA, USA
    Excellent question/thread! I was wondering the same thing!! Seems like the most obvious and simple thing to do, yet nobody talks much about doing it. And thanks for the tip on using an impact wrench. I was wondering how exactly I was going to manage to turn that huge nut. Any other tricks to it? Never replaced one personally; been thinking about getting around to it soon.
  5. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,053
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    The real "trick" to loosening the nut is to do so when you buy a new WH, then use Teflon tape or pipe thread compound with Teflon when you replace the rod. If you unscrew it ever 1-2 years to inspect it, then retreat the threads, it will come out pretty easily.

    I bought a solid breaker bar from Sears just for this purpose and it works fine. The impact wrench trick is said to work well on neglected anode rods that haven't been removed in many years.
  6. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    SO here are rods with a name and cheap too. http://fierychill.com/catalogsearch/result/?q=anode

    It worrys me that most rods are no names and thus likely Chinese. If they can poison their kids with Melamine, imagine what crap they can put into a cast metal rod. Perhaps this is where our old computer circuit boards end up, with a bit of aluminum or magnesium plating on the exterior.

    Imagine all the regs on lead in valves and no monitoring of a rod DESIGNED to dissolve in your water. The Gov's wisdom.

    Just ordered three. The impact wrench means you dont need a big moak to hold the tank from spinning.

    Looks like the .90 are the best buy for amount of material - seems to be the MAX fit thru a 3/4 female fitting.

    When you buy a water heater, YES take out the rod and double treat the threads and make it JUST snug. And wipe off the pint of Mexican pipe dope they leave [wonder how?] on the rod.

    The MFGR'S do not want you to know about the rods, really, and offer no info on their provided doc's. Nice guys.

    But at least they produce something, unlike all the crooks on Wall Street that gave us the last 2 years off work. I would like to twist their stubby anode rods with vice grips.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2010
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