Replacing water heater anode rods?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by Billy_Bob, Apr 27, 2008.

  1. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob In the Trades

    What is the best water heater anode rod for city water which is chlorinated? (Aluminum, magnesium?) My city water is river water and comes from melting snow in the mountains not too far away.

    Also I have a Rheem water heater with an anode rod which seems impossible to unscrew. (Stuck - I tried removing this by myself but could not do it. I'll try getting someone to help hold the tank so I can crank down on it.)

    Tips for removing this anode rod? It is in a separate hole from the hot/cold and T&P valve.

    If I can't remove the anode rod (which is magnesium), it there any problem with installing a separate anode rod in the cold water inlet so long as it is also magnesium?
  2. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Omaha, NE
    check out

    Lots of info on selection of anode rods, and they sell them there, too. Some on this site have commented that the prices are a little high, but on the other hand they sell "segmented" rods which allow you to bend the rod to install it if you don't have a lot of headroom on top of the tank.

    In terms of removing the existing rod - I got a socket at Sears and used a breaker bar and got it off without incident. If yours is stuck, you may need to use a "cheater pipe" (e.g. a length of galvanized pipe over the breaker bar handle). Some folks have also advocated using an impact wrench, but opinions differ on this.
  3. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

    I use an impact wrench to remove them! It takes them out without trying to spin the water heater.

    BTW it is also what the manufacturer uses to install them.
  4. gear junkie

    gear junkie Plumber

    Virginia Beach, IPC country
    What kind of impact driver do you use?
  5. Redwood

    Redwood Master Plumber

  6. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    If you are changing to a different type to get rid of odor, simply turn the temp up to 140f to kill the bacteria that live in the heater and produce the gas that causes the odor. Otherwise, if you strip off any of the old rod material into the tank as you remove it, you haven't removed all the rod and the odor will continue.
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