Problem removing a water heater anode.

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by JohnB61, Dec 21, 2013.

  1. JohnB61

    JohnB61 New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    SW Washington
    I have a Whirlpool gas water heater that is 3 1/2 years old. This area tends to get a buildup in the bottom of the water heater, because of iron in the water, I guess. I try and flush it every few months and I decided to check and probably replace the anode. It is in so tight that I was turning the water heater. I don't want to break the gas or water line connections, so I tried an impact wrench, both the hammer and air styles. No luck. So I borrowed a Proto torque multiplier and braced the legs with a 2x4 so the water heater wouldn't turn. The torque multiplier is also braced against a cabinet with a wooden rod. The anode is still not loosening and I am afraid of breaking the feet off the water heater. They are only sheet metal installed with sheet metal screws. The torque multiplier is wound up tight and won't reverse so I can't get it off. Does anyone have any ideas other than call a plumber? My wife has already suggested that and it is my next option if I can't get this figured out. Thanks in advance.
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,893
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I don't know where you found a water heater with legs.
    The new water heaters with the flame guard haven't been made with legs (feet) or sumpthin like that for about eight years.
    The new water heaters are flat on the bottom.

    By the time you call out a plumber and pay him to change out the anode, you're part way to a new heater.
    And if you can't pull it with all the power tools you've been throwing at it, then I doubt that he can do it either.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  3. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,244
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    I use an air driven impact wrench- the same one I use for changing the wheels on our cars.
  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,078
    Location:
    IL
    It's usually a 1-1/16 impact socket that you need to go with a 3/4 or bigger impact wrench. The old anode was eaten away. I put a powered anode in my water heater. Not cheap. I used teflon tape, and I did not torque it nearly as much as the original... maybe 15 ft-lb.
  5. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    407
    Location:
    California
    "I don't know where you found a water heater with legs.
    The new water heaters with the flame guard haven't been made with legs (feet) or sumpthin like that for about eight years.
    The new water heaters are flat on the bottom".

    Terry,

    The gas tank water heaters sold around here, they all have legs, except Rheem/Ruud/GE.
  6. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    If it was my tank I would just use it until it leaks.

    About the best you can do is to get the rod replaced, and then have a leaking tank and a new rod.

    The weld on that fitting may break before the rod comes out.

    Many older heaters would go 20 years before you even had to work on them.


    If it is not broke, Then you can fix it until it is. Been there done that.


    Happy Holidays to All.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,893
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    I'm installing Rheems and Bradford Whites.
    I'm removing GE water heaters.
  8. WyrTwister

    WyrTwister New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Texas

    I bought a GE electric WH from Home Depot . Best I can tell it is made by Rheem ? Or Rudd ?

    Am I missing something ?

    Thanks ,
    Wyr
    God bless
  9. glazer1972

    glazer1972 New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Location:
    East Texas
    I'd leave it alone till it goes out. Then replace WH.
  10. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    Many water heaters can be made by the same manufacturer, but they are different. Not just the Tag.

    Many are built in different Manufacturing Plants.

    In Theory if they are built to the same ISO standards you would think they would be the same.


    But Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  11. leave that anode rod alone, unless you got a huge socket wrench and
    a cheater bar to force that rod to move...... and you need a couple of guys to
    hold the water heater in place when you attempt to remove it......

    you are asking for trouble....
  12. Reach4

    Reach4 Active Member

    Messages:
    2,078
    Location:
    IL
    In answer to the original question, per the video below, you should apply as much torque to the wrench on the torque multiplier as you can as you change the setting from CW to CCW. I think this is like applying counter torque on a steering wheel on some cars to unstick the steering wheel lock.

    This video is for a different brand. See 2:30 into the video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5RdRivYA8M

    I hope the torque multiplier tool has not been stuck on your water heater for two months. I expect this expensive tool was unstuck long ago.
  13. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,893
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Are you missing something? Years of use it seems.
    I'm removing dead GE water heaters that don't make even 10 years, sometimes not even 7 years.
    As a contractor, I wouldn't sell them.
    Here's the deal. Big Box stores want to make money, and their customers want to save money.
    Big Box makes a deal with suppliers and tells them they need to cheap up the pricing. The suppliers do cheap up the pricing, and do it by cheaping up the product. We installers notice. You don't see me buying anything plumbing there unless I just have to. Installers worry about labor to install and replace.

    ?Why? would I buy something that ensures a warranty call?

    We don't. As a homeowner, you get to save a "few" dollars, buy a product with a shorter life span, and just think that's how things are. You're so smart because you save a few dollars up front. But the trick with that, is that your time isn't worth anything. As a contractor, I'm losing money if I'm doing work twice and getting paid once.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2014
  14. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I do not blame you Terry. That is good business.

    What is really going to suck, is when you start getting the same stuff that consumers can buy at the BB store.

    If you look at the parts that are used, Many are already the same.


    I look at it as, it will be cheaper to replace next time. Not counting labor of course.
  15. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,893
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That hasn't happened yet. Where I buy, the stuff is still good.

    Even things like lav supplies feel lighter at the box stores.
    And of course they put labels right where there shouldn't be a label. They don't peal off either You have to cut the label off with a knife and hope things seal.
  16. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

    Messages:
    3,921
    Location:
    Houston, TX

    I think them are called the Stupid Stickers.
  17. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Messages:
    3,261
    Location:
    northfork, california
    I only use electric water heaters unless its a gas Polaris. But the ONLY difference between a 6 year water heater and a 12 year water heater is the length and diameter of the anode rod. I pulled many rods from new heater in the box. THIN aluminum rods, half the depth of the heater. Put in magnesium rods just a micron under the diameter of the threads -as long as the heater is tall. Now I have 20 year water heaters for a 16$ rod. You can cut off the old rod and drop it into the heater also, better than tossing it out, though it may not make a proper contact to the tank. Advantage of electric heater is you can pile it high with insulation and put it on a timer. If glass lined water well tanks had anodes, they would last 20 years too.
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