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Replace anode rod/ 

prevent tank from rusting/ 

solve odor problems

Reasons to replace anode:

When to inspect:
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Anode rodsBuy solid hex-head anode
1-1/16" hex head
Choose magnesium or zinc-aluminum
Aluminum might cause health concerns, while magnesium doesn't last as long

Buy:
Buy Zinc for odor control
Buy anodes
Flexible anode rod
Flexible hex-head anode
1-1/16" hex head
 Use when space above heater is limited
Hot dog sections for easy installation

Buy:
Flexible resistorized anode
Flexible anode rods
Anode rod with resistor
Hex-head Anode rod w/ resistor
1-1/16" hex head
Rheem sales promotion claims that resistorized last longer than ordinary.

Buy:
Buy .7 resistor anode
Resistor anode .9 diameter
Flexible resistorized .9 anode
Anode rod with resistorCombo Anode rod
Connected to hot water nipple
When tank does not have hex head anode, or when adding another anode to extend protection.


Buy:
Buy combo zinc-aluminum
Buy combo magnesium
Buy anodes
Aluminum vs Magnesium
Aluminum works better but magnesium does not put aluminum in water.
Aluminum anode might cause health concerns, while magnesium anode doesn't last as long
Keep in mind, people generally don't drink water from the hot side tap.
Health concerns and aluminum anode rods/ pdf?
Water softener
Push pull effect of softened water. Gas and electric water heater efficiency is 'unchanged over time' when hard water is softened. However softened water reacts with and corrodes anode rod and can cause tank to rust, reducing life of water heater unless anode rod inspected and replaced every 2 years.
replace anode rod
Hex head anodes are standard 1-1/16"
Buy: bar for hex anode:
Breaker bars
Electric impact wrench
Buy: impact wrench for hex anode:
Electric impact wrenches
Air impact wrench

1-1/16" impact sockets
Buy impact socket for hex anode:
1-1/16" impact deep socket
1-1/16" Tekton shallow socket
Universal joint for impact
Breaker bar
Adapter: 3/8: socket to 1/2" socket
Buy:
1-1/2" impact for elements
Use 1-1/16" for anode rods and 1-1/2" for water heater elements
wrenches
Buy: for combo anode:
Spiral screw extractor
Knipex channel locks
Irwin pliers
anode rodReplace anode rod and extend life of water heater
Life-expectancy of steel water heater tank depends on anode rod.
Once anode is depleted tank begins to rust
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.

Add two anodes to extend life of heater.
Longer warranty tanks have larger diameter or two anode
If unit has hex-head anode, then install a combo anode on the hot side nipple

Water softener shortens life of anode.
Inspect anode every 1-3 years. Turn down amount of softening.
Once anode is depleted tank begins to rust. Protect your investment.

Anode can cause odor problems
Some water contains harmless bacteria that reacts with anode and creates rotten egg odor in hot water. Replace anode when odor occurs or treat tank with hydrogen peroxide.
Some situations call for powered anode rod, or removal of anode.

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.
Bridges, ships, pipelines, steel structures that contact moisture have anode rods to prevent deterioration of structure.

Buy:

Hex head anode rod
How to replace Hex head anode rod:
Illustration shows electric water heater - same instructions apply to electric or gas

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 If tank won't drain, then use siphon. If drain valve is plugged, connect a washing machine hose to drain, then connect garden hose and run water for a few seconds. See image

Rod will be rusted in place, use impact wrench if needed. Add a bit of WD40 to help loosen anode. 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.

Electric impact wrenchUse impact wrench to remove anode rod.
Electric impact wrench is fine. If anode does not loosen, then it probably will not come out.
Buy:
Electric impact wrenches
Air impact wrench
1-1/16" impact socket
Breaker bar
Adapter from 3/8: socket to 1/2" socket
anode rodCombo anode rod
Some tanks, for example Bradford White, use a combo anode located on the hot water nipple. Check manual for parts diagram.

Look at top of tank for hole covered by plastic.
If tank has hex head anode, then pull off plastic cap will reveal anode.
Some tanks have both hex head and combo anode rods.

To remove the combo, insert 5/8" carriage bolt into nipple so it will not collapse when removed with pipe wrench.
If nipple is too short, read about remove short nipple
Two anode rods:
Tanks with longer warranty have thicker anode or 2 anode rods.
With 2 anodes, one will be hex as shown above, and other will be combo anode located on hot water nipple.

For odor problems, both anodes must be identified and replaced.

Adding second anode rod can prolong life of water heater. If tank has anode in anode-port, then add combo anode rod in hot port. Not all tanks can have combo anode added.

Adding second anode rod will prolong life of tank: Tanks with longer warranty often have two anode rods. This can be accomplished by having a hex anode and adding a combo anode rod.
If tank does not have an extra anode-port, then move TP valve to side port if available -or-  move cold water inlet to drain valve, and add 2nd anode to cold water port if cold nipple is removable.

Two anodes and tank odor is caused by harmless bacteria reacting with anode rod. (read more below)
Adding two anode rods may worsen odor problems.
If tank has two anodes both anodes must be identified and replaced to solve odor problem
Resources
Sulfur-Smell in water heater .pdf
Read about controlling odor
Larger image Tabletop water heater
cut anode rod with hack sawMultimeterRod should not touch bottom of tank.
8-10" from bottom.
Cut anode rod with hack saw.

Put 6 wraps teflon tape on threads.
Use 6 wraps teflon tape on the threads that go into tank opening. Caution, the steel tank and anode metal must meet, so rod will work. If water heater has no water, then anode will not work. Anode requires water to work.
Current must be able to pass between steel tank and anode rod or anode will not work. Test if anode is electrically connected to tank: Use multimeter to test for continuity between anode rod and cold water nipple
Buy
 Multimeters at Amazon
Continuity tester at Amazon
Power vent blower might cover anode rod
Check product manual
Remove blower to access hex head anode. Make sure not to dislodge the flue restrictor located on top of flue.

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 blower will probably interfere with installation of power anode rod.
Unless you have a water softener plus serious odor problem, sacrificial anodes make more sense. They're cheap, have nothing to break, last a long time -- especially if you can install two together. (power anode rod is type of anode that runs on electric current, works in place of regular anode rod, and not to be confused with power vent water heater)
Resource:
Troubleshoot power vent water heater
Notes about heat traps:
Water heaters today come with factory-supplied heat-trap nipples, inse
rts, 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
Using impact wrench to remove anode rod works
Buy:
1-1/16" impact drive
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:

Buy anode rods

RV anode rods 
Ariston 'under-counter' anode rod 
Magnesium anode rod
Camco generic anode rods
Bradford White anodes
Reliance anode rod
Rheem anode rods
Teflon tape
Zinc anode rod
power 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

Anode rod heads
Combo anode rod
Aluminum works better but magnesium does not put aluminum in water Read
Combo vrsus hex anode rods
Combo screws into Hot water port on top of tank.
Hex screws into anode port on top of tank
Flexible anode rod
Flexible anode rods: Combo and Hex head
Use flexible when space above tank is limited
Combo anode installed in hot water port
Combo anode rodCombo anode is installed in hot water port. Tanks that have 2 anode rods will have both hex-head and combo. If heater has 1 hex head anode, a 2nd anode can be installed by using combo anode. Two anodes will increase life of tank, especially when softener is installed. On the down side, 2 anodes can cause more odor problems on homes with reactive water.

Insert 5/8" carriage bolt in combo anode rod... Or 9/16" carriage bolt in pex-lined nipple
Pcarriage boltrevent water heater nipple from collapse.
Buy
Knipex channel locks
Combo anode rods

Dip tube installed on Cold side of tank, sends incoming cold water to tank bottom.
How to remove combo anode with short water heater nipple

Remove Bradford White anode rodLarger image
 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

Buy:
Spiral screw extractor
Knipex channel locks
Irwin pliers
2 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.
Resource:
How to remove plastic drain valve
Notes: Add second anode rod
Increase life of water heater
Use impact wrench to remove anode rod from anode port.

Buy:
1-1/16" impact socket
Notes: Impact wrench
Anode rod with resistor?
Some Rheem water heaters year 2012 have magnesium anode with resistor.
This is a standard 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?
Anode rod with resistor
Buy Anode rod with resistor
Standard 1-1/16" hex head
Buy anodes
Buy resistor anode
Flexible resistorized anode
Resources
Rheem anode rods/ pdf
Rheem Ruud anode rods/ pdf
2011 Rheem anode rods/ pdf
6-year tank will have .75-inch diameter anode rod; 9-year, .84-inch; 12-year, .90-inch.
Some longer-warranty tanks have two anode rods.

Notes: Diameter
Anode rod
Anode rod
Larger image
Anode rod is 44" to 51"
Rod 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
Cut anode rod with hack saw
Combo anode rod
Combo anode rod fits into hot port and replaces hot side nipple

Combo anode will not work in all water heaters 
Combo anode rod
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
You can cut notches in anode rod so it will bend. Then re-straighten as anode is inserted into tank
Store anode rods laying flat. Anode rod stored angled against a wall will bend. 
Notes: Bend anode
Anode rod with sausage links
Rheem R-tech-anode-rod
Sausage-link anode rods
Sausage links for 12" space above water heater
If space above heater is limited, buy anode rod with sausage links or flexible links
Buy:
Rheem Flexible
Rheem water heater parts list pdf
Rheem anode rods pdf

Flexible combo anode rod
Sausage-link combo rod replaces hot side nipple
Sausage link combo anode rod
for Hot water nipple.
Replace hot water nipple with combo anode rod.

Buy:
Buy anode rods

Add second anode rod to water heater to prolong life of heater. Add a combo anode to hot water port.
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
Ariston element and anode rod
Point of use water heater
Ariston point of use water heater

Ariston 'under counter' water heater.
Anode rod is threaded into bracket attached to element plate.

Buy:
Ariston anode rod
Resources
Ariston manual with part numbers
Bosch anode and element instructions
How to install under-counter water heater

RV resources:
Atwood water heater troubleshoot
Atwood resources
Atwood water heater service manual
Suburban water heater service manual

Buy:
Suburban Magnesium

Buy:
Anode with drain

Buy:
Camco aluminum
RV and travel home anode rods
If tank is aluminum, then it does not use anode

Buy

RV anode rods
Camco RV anode road
 Powered anode rod
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\

Power 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
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.

Buy:
Power anode rod
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

Installation
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


AO Smith Effex
Water heater with power anode rod
Has powered anode rod for 'trouble-free operating life'
40,000 BTU
Sealed unit and flue baffle slows hot combustion gas to recycle heat as it travels through water heater.

Buy:
AO Smith Effex 12-year gas water heater with power anode rod
Power anode rods eliminate odor in most circumstances

Reliant heat pump
Made by AO Smith also has powered rod

Resources
Product manual
Example Effex warranty
Review AO Smith Effex water heater
Intelligent anode 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
overpriced invention
Marathon water heater
Larger image
Marathon electric water heater
No anode needed

by Rheem requires no anode rod since tank is not metal.
Tank will not rust.
Resources:
Marathon use and care manual
Review Marathon water heater
Wiring diagram
Web site
Marathon water heater parts pdf
Video
Buy:
Marathon water heaters

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.

Water heater Odor / method to control odor
Causes for smelly water:
A. A concentration of sulfate in the supply water.
B. Little or no dissolved oxygen in the water.
C. A sulfate reducing bacteria which has accumulated within the water
heater (this harmless bacteria is nontoxic to humans).
D. An excess of active hydrogen in the tank. This is caused by the
corrosion protective action of the anode.
Both aluminum and magnesium rods cause smelly water

Often replacing with aluminum-zinc anode will solve problem, unless water is softened.
Use power anode rod to solve problem if water is softened.
Rotten 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.
Solution 1) Remove anode rod
Odor is usually caused when generally-harmless bacteria reacts with anode. Solve odor problem by removing anode rod.
 Once anode rod is gone, then source of odor is removed. However tank will rust much faster, and need replacement sooner, plus the warranty is voided.
Cut top off anode. Re-use top plug to fill hole.
Removing anode will only stop certain types of odor. If odor is only in hot water and not cold, then removing anode will usually work.
Water heater odorSolution 2) Add hydrogen peroxide regularly
Turn off power to water heater:
Let tank cool so hot does not explode out ball valve
Shut off cold water to tank.

Open bathtub hot side to release pressure.
Leave bathtub valve open until finished. This will tell you when tank has refilled and ready to apply power.

Drain 2 gallons from tank. Add 2 pints harmless Hydrogen peroxide to water heater. Let stand for 2 hours.
H2O2 is easy to flush out, and generally harmless to people. Can be used as mouthwash, read label on hydrogen peroxide bottle.
Do not use clorox.
CLOROX is NOT used for this purpose since it cannot be easily flushed out, and bleach odor can last weeks or longer coming out each tap for extended period of time.
Then drain tank to flush hydrogen peroxide. Refill completely until water is coming out of bathtub drain, then turn on water heater. Applies to gas and electric heaters.
Buy: parts to make this drain valve
Water heater odorBuy parts:
Dielectric nipples
3/4" ball valve
Brass ball valve

Garden hose to 1/2 pipe
Garden hose to 3/4 pipe
Plastic funnels
Buy: Ball valve/ gas
Gas ball valve

Resource:
How to remove short water heater nipple
Method 3) add hydrogen peroxide through TP valve opening
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
Method 4: continuous flow of chlorine
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.
Research: about water-softening / anode rods / water-heater-efficiency
Leak:
Statistics show that tank rupture from catastrophic failure of rusted tank is not common (it does happen). Prevention includes replacing anode rod, avoiding pressures over 80 psi, installing expansion tank, responding immediately to leak, and avoiding very high temperature settings over 135. Leaking water heater

Hard-water with water-softener:
Gas and electric water heater efficiency is unchanged over time when hard water is softened, however softened water reacts with and corrodes anode rod and will reduce life of water heater unless anode rod inspected and replaced every 2 years.

Hard-water with NO water-softener:
> Gas: Efficiency of storage-type gas heater drops 6-8% after two years > cleaning out sediment build-up will not restore full efficiency since the bottom surface of the combustion chamber cannot be completely cleaned > however, regular flushing to prevent sediment does maintain efficiency. Curved dip tubes are installed on all water heaters today, and may or may not help with sediment problems. Read about dip tubes   Read about gas water heater efficiency
> Tankless gas and electric heaters will fail when pressure sensor clogs with sediment within 2-3 years depending on hardness of water > regular de-liming will not restore efficiency > softener is required
> Electric: Efficiency of electric heater stays at 96% until sediment reaches bottom element > cleaning tank and replacing lower element restores full efficiency since lower element is located several inches above bottom of tank where sediment debris remains > regular flushing to prevent sediment build-up also maintains efficiency
Resources
How to maintain water heater
9-ways to save with water heater
How to clean sediment out of water heater

Water-softener reduces life of anode rod in gas and electric water heaters
"Artificially softened water is exceedingly corrosive because the process substitutes sodium ions for magnesium and calcium ions. The use of water softener may decrease life of water heater tank."
Read pdf :water-softener/water-heater efficiency comparison
Clogged water heater
Water heater mist be drained slightly when removing anode rod
How to open clogged water heater
 Gas in water line/ explosion danger
Anode rod reacts with harmless bacteria. In some instances, usually on a water well with a water softener, the reaction can produce hydrogen gas.
If the water heater sits unused for several weeks, the gas can accumulate and be released at faucet when hot is turned ON. The release of hydrogen sounds like there is air in the line.
If the hydrogen is in sufficient quantity, and light switch is turned on, then explosion can occur.
Other causes: New water heater can have reactive anode rod. New water softener can cause anode to be reactive
Resources
Gas in water line
Glass lined steel water heater 'Glass Lined' water heater invented by Rheem in the 1950's to replace expensive copper lined heaters.
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. 

Gas and electric water heaters Industrial electric

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