Anode rod maintenance

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Reader90

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Hello,

I have a Bradford & White Tank Water Heater, Model RG275H6N. City water, that I run through both a 2 cu ft carbon filter (flushed every 7 days), followed by a 2 cu ft. water softener. My water does not smell or have any colorization. It has been ~18 months since installation and based on my previous experience with Tank water heaters, I want to change it every 18 to 24 months. I do drain about 5 gallons from Tank every 3 months and pay attention to color/sentiment.

I am going to change the Anode Rod. The space from the top of water heater and ceiling is too tight to use an OEM model listed in their parts list. I want to use a flexible anode rod for this reason.

Two questions:

1. Any reason to use either a magnesium or aluminum based anode rod?
2. I have found these two at Supply House (used them in past, satisfied with service/price/timeliness)
a. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Water-Heater-Smart-1017400-44-Blue-Lightning-Magnesium-Anode-Rod-Hex-Plug-Flexible-4-sections (magnesium based)
b. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Water-Heater-Smart-1027400-42-Blue-Lightning-Aluminum-Zinc-Anode-Rod-Hex-Plug-Flexible-4-sections (aluminum/zinc)

Thanks in advance!!
 

Jeff H Young

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Been wondering about this too . I install a fair amount of heaters but thinking about getting involved in this as well . I have my personal home 50 gal 3.5 yr old and neighbor with a 50 gal 12 yr warranty that just turned 5 years old. Worth my while on my own? Can I pull it part way saw it off and pull it up some more I have about 15 inches verticle space. 1/2 inch drive impact w 1 1/16th socket bust it loose easy? no nightmares ?
 

Water Pro

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Hello,

I have a Bradford & White Tank Water Heater, Model RG275H6N. City water, that I run through both a 2 cu ft carbon filter (flushed every 7 days), followed by a 2 cu ft. water softener. My water does not smell or have any colorization. It has been ~18 months since installation and based on my previous experience with Tank water heaters, I want to change it every 18 to 24 months. I do drain about 5 gallons from Tank every 3 months and pay attention to color/sentiment.

I am going to change the Anode Rod. The space from the top of water heater and ceiling is too tight to use an OEM model listed in their parts list. I want to use a flexible anode rod for this reason.

Two questions:

1. Any reason to use either a magnesium or aluminum based anode rod?
2. I have found these two at Supply House (used them in past, satisfied with service/price/timeliness)
a. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Water-Heater-Smart-1017400-44-Blue-Lightning-Magnesium-Anode-Rod-Hex-Plug-Flexible-4-sections (magnesium based)
b. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Water-Heater-Smart-1027400-42-Blue-Lightning-Aluminum-Zinc-Anode-Rod-Hex-Plug-Flexible-4-sections (aluminum/zinc)

Thanks in advance!!
someone more qualified in this area might be a better help, but from the water treatment side, aluminum makes more sense than magnesium. iron reducing bacteria seem to like magnesium.
 

Bannerman

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Water conditions will influence the anode rod material. Some water will cause a sulfur gas odour from only the hot water and so changing to an alternate anode material will often resolve that.

Since the water is city supplied, it will contain chlorine so IRB should not be a concern.

If you haven't been experiencing odour or other issues with your existing rod material, suggest not changing rod materials. Alternately, a powered anode rod works differently and so does not normally cause reaction issues. As a powered rod is not sacrificial, there should be no breakdown so one rod should last for the heater's lifespan.

I often see impact drivers mentioned when discussing anode rod replacement. I suspect the vibration will result in damage to the tank's glass lining so I wonder about the actual benefit of replacing the anode rod if the old one is so tight to make using an impact driver necessary.
 

Jeff H Young

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Never changed one so thought going to an impact would just make job easier. one would never know if impact gun damaged a tank or not but good thinking Bannerman that is a possibility , likelihood? not sure . I'm really on the fence if the whole Idea is worth it never done it and don't know anyone that has. but tanks aint getting any cheaper and paying us to replace tanks isn't exactly cheap either. And also weighing in on whether I might can turn a buck replacing anodes and help customer out ?
 

Reach4

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Never changed one so thought going to an impact would just make job easier. one would never know if impact gun damaged a tank or not but good thinking Bannerman that is a possibility , likelyhood? not sure . Im really on the fence if the whole Idea is worth it never done it and dont know anyone that has. but tanks aint getting any cheaper and paying us to replace tanks isnt exactly cheap either. And also weighing in on whether I might can turn a buck replacing anodes and help customer out ?
I had to use an impact wrench, but my anode had been in place for a 11 years. The water had been hard for some of that time.

There is some thought that if you pulled the anode when the tank was newer, you could put it back with PTFE tape with a lot less torque. It would be easier to pull later. If the PTFE insulated the threads, it would not work as an anode. However the threads cut through and make contact as soon as you start turning, so no worry there.

I have also wondered if the impact wrench would cause cracking. My thought is that it probably has small cracking from shipping and handling anyway, and that a good anode will protect the areas of the crack.
 

Jeff H Young

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My thought is cracking the glasss is possible but how would you ever know. I think those anodes be real tight from factory. put a brad white in few weeks ago T and P leaked, was going to go buy a new one as it was late and just want to get done . removed T and P, no dope on it ? WTH? Taped and doped, threw it back on and no problem. Anyone think 3.5 yrs still too new to mess with anode? BTW my own house.
Sorry for the HIJACK, reader 90 Hope someone helps with which rods are best I can't tell you
 

Reach4

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Seems worth a try. If you will try a breaker bar, instead of an impact wrench, I think sooner is better. That earthquake strap could come in handy.

I have a friend who's well person tells him to pull the anode and put a plug to avoid H2S. Not a good idea IMO.
 

Reader90

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Update. Super simple process. Went with an Aluminum, flexible rod as I do not have the space based on install area and ceiling. I did not need a breaker bar, but I cheated and bought a 2 ft piece of copper pipe to put on the socket wrench. Anyway, all done took about 30 minutes.

I think the hardest part was making sure I found the correct Anode part. At ~$30 for parts, I think I will order a few more and just start doing this annually.

Here is what the rod looked like at 18 months. Probably had some time still, but top area (which is at bottom of photo) was basically gone....
 

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jadnashua

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The exact water makeup and volume used will determine how long an anode rod lasts. Some of the OEM units that come with a longer warranty actually come with two rods rather than one, or they may be longer or thicker. The mineral content and pH of your water will affect how long the anode lasts. If it was distilled water with no dissolved gasses in it, it would hardly need an anode...there'd be no oxygen to rust anything out or corrode things.
 

Reader90

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Totally makes sense. My water going into the water heater is conditioned, both softened and removal of chlorine/other "stuff" via a whole home carbon filter. I am on my 3rd water heater in 10 years and intend to make this 3rd one last more than 3 years. I think changing the anode rod every 12 to 18 months is a good ROI investment.
 

Sarg

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Here's a "copy-paste" from plumbingsupply.com on conditioned water making the anode deteriorate faster.

Anode rods have a life expectancy of about five years, but as always it really depends on the quality of your water and how much of it travels through the heater. When sodium is added to the water (like when a water softener is used), anode rods can corrode more quickly: in as little as six months if the water is over-softened! Take care not to over-soften water, and make sure to check your anode rod more often if you have a water softener (at least every six months).

I just replaced my system a month ago and have already acquired three anode rods. I replace my elements and vacuum out any sediment yearly. When I remove the elements in the future I will inspect the condition of the anode rod in the tank.
I also replaced the crappy plastic factory gate valve for drainage with a brass 3/4 ball valve that will hopefully allow most of the sediment to flush out.
 

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