Magnesium Anode separated from support wire

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John_Jacob

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I have a 4 year old nat. gas John Wood JW840S40N water heater. I went to inspect the anode but when I unscrewed it, the support wire separated from the magnesium anode leaving the anode behind in the tank. I believe the anode is 'rusted' tight to the insertion hole.

Questions are;
1) looking through the manual/internet, it's not apparent that I can take the top off the water heater or somehow disassemble it to get greater access to the anode so I can pull it out through the hole. Does anyone have experience with this and is the solution disassembly?

2) Assuming I can't remove the anode, I suppose an alternative is to 'poke' the anode into the tank and insert a brand new one. Is this approach a problem health wise? I assume that the Fe-Mg ion exchange only happens so quickly and that the presence of double the magnesium in the water tank won't be an health issue? Does anyone have any experience or knowledge on this?

3) any other possible solutions? It's under warranty for another year so but I suspect a service call of $xxx is not.

Thanks for any assistance.
 

Reach4

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I went to inspect the anode but when I unscrewed it, the support wire separated from the magnesium anode leaving the anode behind in the tank. I believe the anode is 'rusted' tight to the insertion hole.
Weird. The 1-1/8 inch hex sheared off above the bottom of the threads?

2) Assuming I can't remove the anode, I suppose an alternative is to 'poke' the anode into the tank and insert a brand new one. Is this approach a problem health wise?
Not a problem heath-wise. I am not a pro.

I am trying to imagine some failure where you could poke the anode remainder down, but still have the threads good enough letting you screw in a new anode.
 

John_Jacob

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Weird. The 1-1/8 inch hex sheared off above the bottom of the threads?

I would say the rod sheared off. The support wire came out with the bolt and left the rod behind per attached picture. Looking down the spud, all I see is the Mg and the hole where the support wire was pulled out (picture).

Not a problem heath-wise. I am not a pro.

I am trying to imagine some failure where you could poke the anode remainder down, but still have the threads good enough letting you screw in a new anode.

I imagine the old 32" anode somehow magically falling out of the way so I can insert a full new one then screw it it. I don't think it effected any threads.
 

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Reach4

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I am confused by your first https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?attachments/support-wire-for-anode-jpg.67884/ picture. This shows a consumed anode successfully removed. How does that relate to https://terrylove.com/forums/data/attachments/63/63269-c889bd34946302b684633dc04cb73bb6.jpg ?

Here is the top of a typical eaten-away anode, except for this one the support wire has even rusted away. Picture is from https://softsolder.com/2009/09/24/why-you-need-a-6-point-socket-to-remove-a-water-heater-anode-rod/ :

cimg4108-goobered-anode-rod-head-side-view.jpg
 

John_Jacob

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I am confused by your first https://terrylove.com/forums/index.php?attachments/support-wire-for-anode-jpg.67884/ picture. This shows a consumed anode successfully removed. How does that relate to https://terrylove.com/forums/data/attachments/63/63269-c889bd34946302b684633dc04cb73bb6.jpg ?

Here is the top of a typical eaten-away anode, except for this one the support wire has even rusted away. Picture is from https://softsolder.com/2009/09/24/why-you-need-a-6-point-socket-to-remove-a-water-heater-anode-rod/ :

cimg4108-goobered-anode-rod-head-side-view.jpg
Thanks ! My picture is missing scale (humor intentional). The wire you see is the support wire, curved and is ~ 1/8th? thick while an anode should be >>3/8th (say with a lot of corrosion) thick and straight. The size of the hole in the spud in the 2nd picture is 1/8th thick and thus I've concluded I didn't pull out any of the anode. If the anode had dissolved, I'd expect to see a bigger hole in the spud/bolt hole.

I suppose my experience is similar to this thread https://softsolder.com/2009/09/22/removing-a-water-heater-anode-rod/ without the 'clank' the author described.
 

Reach4

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Thanks ! My picture is missing scale (humor intentional). The wire you see is the support wire, curved and is ~ 1/8th? thick while an anode should be >>3/8th (say with a lot of corrosion) thick and straight. The size of the hole in the spud in the 2nd picture is 1/8th thick and thus I've concluded I didn't pull out any of the anode. If the anode had dissolved, I'd expect to see a bigger hole in the spud/bolt hole.
So at this point, I am imagining a recessed crust of calcification etc. I would try to pick stuff out, but if that fell to the bottom, I would not worry.

My anode looked something like yours, except there was some stuff clinging to the bare wire. In your case, your crust seems to have stripped that stuff off. I put a Ceranode powered anode in. It will protect better than a zinc/aluminum anode, and be even better at not contributing to H2S generation. However it is more expensive than the shorter-electrode one, the price difference will be even higher since you are in Canada, and the Corro-Protec anode is made in Canada. Plus your WH is not tall as some.

How about holding a tube to your wet-dry vacuum cleaner hose. Suck as you push, and see if that crust could get sucked up. But don't worry if it doesn't work. I think a 3/4 copper pipe is 0.875 OD, and the anode hole in the WH clears over 0.9 inches. So a piece of 3/4 copper held into a wet-dry vac hose with duct tape or even your hand, could possibly let you punch out your disk. Maybe a smaller tube could be better, taking multiple jabs. Just imagining. No experience.
 

John_Jacob

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So at this point, I am imagining a recessed crust of calcification etc. I would try to pick stuff out, but if that fell to the bottom, I would not worry.

My anode looked something like yours, except there was some stuff clinging to the bare wire. In your case, your crust seems to have stripped that stuff off. I put a Ceranode powered anode in. It will protect better than a zinc/aluminum anode, and be even better at not contributing to H2S generation. However it is more expensive than the shorter-electrode one, the price difference will be even higher since you are in Canada, and the Corro-Protec anode is made in Canada. Plus your WH is not tall as some.

How about holding a tube to your wet-dry vacuum cleaner hose. Suck as you push, and see if that crust could get sucked up. But don't worry if it doesn't work. I think a 3/4 copper pipe is 0.875 OD, and the anode hole in the WH clears over 0.9 inches. So a piece of 3/4 copper held into a wet-dry vac hose with duct tape or even your hand, could possibly let you punch out your disk. Maybe a smaller tube could be better, taking multiple jabs. Just imagining. No experience.

Excellent idea! Thank you very much for your help!
 
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