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Replace anode rod/ prevent tank from rusting/ odor resolution
Two different types of anode rods:
Illustration above shows anode located in separate anode port. Uses regular hex-head anode rod
Some anode rods are connected to hot water nipple See
Owner's manual can show anode location: list of water heater manufacturers and brands to find manual.
How to replace anode rod:
Tank water must be cool or scalding water will spew out when anode is loosened.
1) Turn off gas or electric to heater, 2) Close water shutoff valve, 3) Open drain valve near bottom of tank, 4) Open bathtub tap to let air into water line, and drain 2 gallons of water What if tank won't drain?
Rod will be rusted in place, use impact wrench if needed. Wipe WD40 off anode opening before unscrewing rod so WD40 will not enter tank. Loosen rod slowly and check that water does not seep up because hot water can spew out hole. Some anode rods are too tight and cannot be removed.
Install new anode rod: Use 6 wraps teflon tape. Caution, tank metal and anode metal must meet, so rod will work. Test if anode is electrically connected to tank by testing continuity between anode head and pipe nipple. Current must be able to pass between steel tank and anode rod or anode will not work. 5) Remove, inspect and replace anode rod 6) Fill tank and Open TP to bleed last air before Turning on gas or electric power.
Replace anode rod and extend life of water heaterLife-expectancy of steel water heater tank depends on anode rod. Water softener shortens life of anode rod. (read more at bottom)
How anode works:
When two metals are connected, water reacts with lower noble metal first. Anode rod is made from lower noble metal than steel tank. Water dissolves anode rod instead of rusting water heater.
Once anode rod dissolves, water quickly rusts water heater.
Reasons to replace anode:
1) Odor: Harmless bacteria reacts with anode to cause rotten-egg smell.
2) Maintain water heater payback $5-10 per month: Replace anode rod when inspection shows exposed core is visible at top or bottom, or more than 6" of exposed core along length.
Rod that is covered with white calcium must be replaced.
When to inspect:
Water softener or acidic water <> inspect anode every 1-2 years
No softener <> inspect anode 3-5 years
Lifespan of tank:
Tank with dual anode rod lasts longer. For example, 6-year tanks have one rod. Generally, 12-year tanks have larger diameter rod or two anode rods. Both rods are made of same metal to achieve longer life.
is a self-help site
water heaters today
come with factory-supplied
inserts, and rubber washers.
These things are supplied so manufacturer can claim higher efficiency.
Down-side is these can constrict water flow and are location for clogs and noise.
Make your own heat traps instead. Read: Low water pressure
about heat traps:
Heat traps installed in hot and cold inlet ports can clog, and whistle and make noise
vent might cover anode rod
Check product manual
Remove power vent to access anode.
If unit has power vent, you also might be able to install a combo anode to replace hot water nipple.
Note: If water heater has odor problem, then old anode must be removed before installing new anode.
Note: Power vent will probably interfere with installation of power anode rod... read more below
impact wrench to remove anode rod works
1-1/16" impact drive at Amazon
Use WD40, but wipe away excess WD40 when anode is loose so oil will not drip into water.
Wrenching water heater will not break anode port unless tank is rusted away.
Sometimes the anode will not come out.
Buy:RV anode rods at Amazon
Ariston 'under-counter' anode rod at Amazon
Magnesium anode rod at Amazon
Camco generic anode rods at Amazon
Bradford White anodes
Reliance anode rod at Amazon
Rheem anode rods at Amazon
Teflon tape at Amazon
Zinc anode rod
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on anodes, drain valves, TP valves, nipples, and water heater connections etc.
Test for electrical continuity between anode rod and metal tank
Aluminum works better but magnesium does not put aluminum in water Read
Combo screws into Hot water port on top of tank.
Hex screws into anode port on top of tank
Flexible anode rods: Combo and Hex head
Use flexible when space above tank is limited
Insert 5/8" carriage bolt in combo anode rod
Or 9/16" carriage bolt in pex-lined nipple
Prevent water heater nipple from collapse
Knipex channel locks
Combo anode installed in hot water port
Combo anode is installed in hot water port
On some water heaters, a 2nd anode can be installed by using combo anode.
If odor is problem, then all anodes must be removed.
Dip tube installed on Cold side of tank.
Routes incoming cold water to tank bottom
Read about Dip Tubes
to remove combo anode
Remove short water heater nipple
If pipe wrench alone will not do the job, or nipple is too short:
Drive a screw extractor into the nipple on Hot side
Then use pipe wrench on the nipple, with crescent wrench on the screw extractor
Rotate clockwise to remove
Substitute Knipex channel locks for pipe wrench
Example: Bradford White anode rods are combo, and the nipples are very short
Spiral screw extractor at Amazon
Knipex channel locks
anodes mean longer tank
life with fewer inspections. Each must be same metal.
Install anode in regular anode port, and install combo anode rod in hot water port.
If water heater only has combo anode rod, and no separate anode port:
Remove drain valve, and connect cold water inlet to drain port. Use vacated cold water port for anode rod.
How to remove plastic drain valve
Add second anode rod
Increase life of water heater
impact wrench to
remove anode rod from anode port.
1-1/16" impact socket at Amazon
rod with resistor?
Some Rheem water heaters year 2012 have magnesium anode with resistor.
This is a stardard magnesium anode rod with resistor added to improve life of anode
When resistor is added to Magnesium anode rod, the rod improves performance to match performance of aluminum anode rod without potential health concerns over aluminum.
Difference is 1-2 years.
Health concerns and aluminum anode rods?
Buy Anode rod with resistor
Standard 1-1/16" hex head
Buy anodes at Amazon
Buy resistor anode at Amazon
Flexible resistorized anode
Rheem anode rods/ pdf
Rheem Ruud anode rods/ pdf
2011 Rheem anode rods/ pdf
tank will have .75-inch diameter anode rod; 9-year, .84-inch; 12-year,
Some longer-warranty tanks have two anode rods.
rod is 44" to 51"
Buy at local plumbing supply, or on-line.
should not touch
bottom of tank
Cut anode rod to size using hack saw.
Put 6 wraps teflon tape on threads.
If water heater has no water, then anode will not work. Anode requires water to work.
Cut anode rod with hack saw
Combo anode rod fits into hot port and replaces hot side nipple
Combo anode will not work in all water heaters
replaces hot side nipple
For water heaters with 2 anode rods, or water heaters with anode connected to hot nipple.
Also you can sometimes add second anode rod to lengthen life of water heater.
Both anodes should be made of same material
can cut notches in
anode rod so it will bend. Then re-straighten as anode is inserted into
Store anode rods laying flat. Anode rod stored angled against a wall will bend.
|Notes: Bend anode|
Sausage-link anode rods
links for 12" space above water heater
If space above heater is limited, buy anode rod with sausage links or flexible links
Rheem Flexible at Amazon
Rheem water heater parts list pdf
Rheem anode rods pdf
Sausage-link combo rod replaces hot side nipple
link combo anode rod
for Hot water nipple.
Replace hot water nipple with combo anode rod.
Buy anode rods at Amazon
second anode rod to
water heater to prolong life of heater. Add a combo anode to hot water
Not all water heaters have anode port for installing 2 anode rods.
Both anode rods should be made of same material.
If tank has odor problems, then 2 anode rods will make problem worse. Install power anode rod.
|Notes: 2 anode rods|
Anode rod is threaded into bracket attached to element plate.
Ariston anode rod at Amazon
Ariston manual with part numbers
Bosch anode and element instructions
How to install under-counter water heater
Atwood water heater troubleshoot
Atwood water heater service manual
Suburban water heater service manual
|RV and travel home anode rods
Aluminum tanks do not use anode
RV anode rods at Amazon
Minimum is 12". Powered anode rod must be installed from top of tank.
Stabilizing weight is insulated, so if it touches bottom of tank that is OK.
Metal anode rods cannot touch steel tank or anode will not work.
Buy power anode rod
Advantages: almost 100% Solution for tank odor, tank will not rust out, can be moved to next water heater, can be installed on most water heaters up to 80 gallon including some hybrid, some power vent models, works for gas and electric water heaters, includes LED that indicates if power anode working.
Disadvantage: No protection if electric power is out, power anode voids tank warranty if manufacturer finds out.
Power anode rod at waterheaterrescue
Warranty for power anode rod:
Anode life: 100 yr for coated tanks
'Lifetime warranty for tanks with glass liner that is intact and not broken or cracked.' But how would you know if glass liner was unbroken?
Power anode rod review/ stops rusted tank and prevents odor caused by bacteria reacting with ordinary anode rod:
protects against rust and odor (more about odor, scroll down this waterheatertimer page)
How power anodes work
Power anode rod voids water heater warranty, so re-install old anode rod when making warranty claim
Water heater warranties
Stretch spring to length of tank at time of installation
Works with gas and electric water heaters, including hybrid
Will NOT work on power vent water heaters, but will work with flue damper
Instructions: cut back sheet metal on top
anode rod shown
above is for tanks up to 75 gallons
Power anode rod can be re-installed in new heater, when old heater is replaced.
Installing power anode will void tank warranty. So re-install old anode rod for warranty claim.
Water heater warranties
Power anode rod has LED showing when anode is working. Customer must inspect water heater each 6 months for leaks and periodic maintenance. If power anode is not working, then tank will rust.
heater with power anode rod
Has powered anode rod for 'trouble-free operating life'
Sealed unit and flue baffle slows hot combustion gas to recycle heat as it travels through water heater.
AO Smith Effex 12-year gas water heater with power anode rod at Amazon
Power anode rods eliminate odor in most circumstances
Example Effex warranty
Review AO Smith Effex water heater
|Reliant heat pump
Made by AO Smith also has powered rod
warns when anode rod needs to be replaced
Read review of product and company
Anode rod depletion leads to rusted tank and possible water heater rupture ... the cost of water heater failure may not be fully covered by insurance .. home may be uninhabitable until water damage repaired.
Intelligent anode rod warns homeowner before tank begins to rust
Alarm warns of water leak
Insurance data on water heater failure chart
Anode rod with drain for RV aluminum tanks (Atwood)Buy:
Camco RV anode road at Amazon
electric water heater
No anode needed
by Rheem requires no anode rod since tank is not metal.
Tank will not rust.
Marathon use and care manual
Review Marathon water heater
Marathon water heater parts pdf
Marathon water heaters at Amazon
Odors in water are not fully prevented by using non-metallic tank.
BUT rotten-egg odor problems are caused by bacteria reacting with anode rod.
Lined' water heater
Image shows enamel coated steel -or- glass liner inside all steel tanks.
Water heater tanks and water well tanks have same enamel coating.
Once the anode rod is depleted, water quickly rusts the tank. The enamel coating helps stop tank from rusting.
Flexing tank can chip enamel.
Water heater Odor / method to control odor
egg odor in water heater is caused by bacteria
reacting with anode rod:
These bacteria are harmless to health.
Remove anode rod and smell goes away, but tanks rusts. Install magnesium-aluminum anode to help control problem. Install power anode rod to help stop problem. If water heater has odor problem, then best not to install 2 anode rods since that gives twice the surface area for anodes to react with. Many tanks with longer warranty have larger anode rods and/or two anode rods.
Rheem says: "Rotten egg odor or black water in hot water lines is due to the reaction of sulfates and micro-organisms in the water that create Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S)."
This is water chemistry condition caused by several factors, including the anode rod
H2S is one of the few water contaminants that human senses can detect at low concentrations, as low as 0.5 parts per million (ppm). The odor is most noticeable when water is first turned on or heated.
Actual source of odor is in the cold water supply, such as untreated rural water systems or well water; but does not present itself until heated.
Some waters have excessive sulfate content along with various strains of sulfate reducing bacteria.
The bacteria react in stagnant water that has been depleted of oxygen. This reaction produces hydrogen sulfide gas by utilizing the hydrogen ion from the anode cathode reaction. In other words, the water condition reacts with anode rod inside the water heater.
Problem is more prevalent in softened water containing sodium in place of calcium and magnesium. The anode may have some affect because the greater activity of the anode, the greater amount of the hydrogen ion and hydrogen sulfide gas.
Water heater odor bacteria can be killed with adequate additions of chlorine: such as installing continuous chlorine feeder. This will usually eliminate the odor problem.
Steps showing how to get rid of odor inside water heater
Best to do this late in day so tank can sit overnight.
1. Turn off the manual electrical switch -or- shut off main gas supply.
2. Shut off water to heater.
3. Open tub faucet and the T&P valve to relieve tank pressure.
4. Drain enough water to compensate for the bleach or hydrogen peroxide. Two pints hydrogen peroxide per 40 gallons water or 1 gallon bleach per 30 gallons water.
Drain water by opening drain valve at bottom of heater.
How to open clogged water heater that will not drain
5. Pour the bleach or hydrogen peroxide into relief valve opening, anode rod opening or hot water outlet pipe opening.
Check anode rod for serviceability; replace anode with a new anode rod if there are signs of deterioration.
6) Re-pipe the heater and close the T&P valve.
7. Fill the tank with water. Open tub spout and wait for water to run full stream, and then open TP valve for a moment to bleed last of air.
9. Run taps until water begins to warm.
THEN let sit over night.
9. After one hour, or in the morning, open all the hot water faucets and allow the bleach or peroxide to clear
hot water supply pipes.
10. Turn off water heater and drain the tank. Then fill tank with fresh water for 15 minutes.
11. After 15 minutes, purge the hot water supply lines again, and drain the water again.
12. Fill tank with fresh water. Open tub spout and wait for water to run full stream, and then open TP valve for a moment to bleed last of air.
13. Check for water leaks at all fittings used; repair as necessary.
14. Turn water heater ON for normal operation.
How to test water heater elements
15. Check for normal water heater operation.
How to troubleshoot electric water heater
How to troubleshoot gas water heater
water-softening / anode rods / water-heater-efficiency
|Water heater efficiency:
Electric storage-type water heaters operate at 99% efficiency
Gas storage-type water heaters operate at 69% efficiency
Tankless gas heaters operate at 80% efficiency
High-efficiency storage-type gas heaters up to 96% efficiency
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