Replacing Anode Rod in 2016 Whirlpool Hot Water Heater

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My mother has a 50 gallon Whirlpool hot water heater (E50h46-45) that was installed in Spring 2016 in Delaware. The water comes from a well; and there is also a salt based water softener in use. The sulfer / rotten egg smell has become quite bad.

I have read the solution is to replace the magnesium anode rod with an aluminum zinc rod. I have also read that since a water softener is in use, it must be a powered anode rod. Which of these methods would be recommended? If so, what size? I have read that 3/4 would be best.

Or would it be better to replace the water heater, perhaps with one that does not contain a magnesium anode rod but uses an aluminum zinc anode rod (if they exist)?

I know ZERO about plumbing. My husband would be doing the work. He is extremely handy and has any tool that exists in the world.


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I would consider switching to a Ceranode powered anode, if you can get the old anode out.

Another alternative, that is surprisingly popular, is to remove the anode, and put a 3/4 brass plug in the hole.

There are cheaper anodes than the Ceranode, and I feel confident they would be better than a brass plug.

If you cannot loosen the old anode, no sense buying a replacement anode. You may be able to cut down on the smell by setting the WH hotter.

Master Plumber Mark

Sensitivity trainer and plumber of mens souls
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indianapolis indiana - land of the free, home of
Just take out the anode rod and get a 3/4 plug and plug it off.....

90% of the time an aluminium rod will also stink to high heaven too

I know this because I have also made this mistake before..trying to make
some customers happy and it all went south after a few months I came back
and removed the new rod too..... the heater is still working fine after probably
15 years now......

Even though its a crappy Whirlpool heater
the water heater will still probably last 15 years on well water due to the
fact the pressure is so low...
Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

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