Always listen to your gut, Eggie. I'd be reluctant to pull it, as right now
it doesn't leak, but you don't know it's condition. You pull it, but booger
a thread or something, and the anode is still in decent shape, now you have
to replace. I agree with Ed.
Let sleeping dogs lie. If you do not have a pan under it now, you MAY be
able to cobble something together to protect yourself. They always go out
at 3AM, and usually when someone's out of town. When and if you DO replace
it, do NOT cheap out and not put a pan under it with a good drain. BTDT
with two heaters I inherited. Well, I didn't cheap out, but the previous
owners did, and that much water plus a lot that comes in to fill the leak
wets a lot even if you find it quick. Can lead to mold, too.
Yes check the anode! To simplify the removal use a 6 point socket and a
breaker bar. I have found that heating the head of the anode with a propane
torch softens the pipe dope thy use at the factory to facilitate removal.
Check out this web site for the anode tutorial:
You can probably find the anodes cheaper if you hunt a bit.
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
I've checked mine a couple times so far with no problems. I think
folks here are looking at it from two very different perspectives:
1 - Checking it every couple years from the time the heater was new.
I'd start at about year 3. If you do that, the fitting will remain
easy to unscrew in the future and the risk of causing problems is low.
2 - Waiting until it's 10+ years old, approaching it's end of life,
and then doing it for the first time. In that case, I'd agree it may
be not worth it, as it could be very difficult to remove and could
result in more problems, eg leaking.
Regarding the advice to check it every 6 months, that seems very
excessive to me and I doubt any water heater company would recommend
doing it. The last tank I installed had no mention of checking the
anode at all. I think the position of many of the tank manufacturers
is that it should last about the life of the tank and doesn't need
And regarding that point, there are two schools of thought on the
whole issue of whether it makes sense to replace the anode or not.
It depends on whether you believe it really will extend the life of
the tank significantly or not. It's also possible that other
failure mechanisms will ultimately cause the tank to fail at about the
same time whether you replace the anode or not. In other words, the
original anode may be sufficient to prevent galvanic corrosion long
enough that it gets the tank to the time zone when other failure modes
unrelated to the anode are likely going to get it soon anyway.
That assumes of course that you choose to spend the money on a more
expensive tank when you replace it. However, if you have a modest
cost tank and replace it with a similar one, it's unlikely you're
going to save much energy. AFAIK, tanks are still available that have
pilot lights, no? BTW, how is an electronic thermostat supposed to
save energy over a mechanical one? I'd rather have the simple
mechanical one, instead of another more expensive piece of electronics
subject to surge damage, etc.
Do a search on the history in this newsgroup and see how many posts deal
with broke drain valves on water heaters. One of the biggest problems with
valves is non use and they get corroded and cannot turn or will not seal
when closed. While at it, check for the posts about washing machine valves
that don't close too.
I just heard a story this morning about a job gone wrong. A crane and crew
called in to replace some equipment. Crew was told, everything is ready,
you just have to turn the air off. Well, the air valve has not been turned
in years. It was a five hour project getting it turned off.
When I was a kid I needed an anode rod for a science experiment. Well
I went down to the local hardware store and while they had some the
guy there said I could save some money by scavaging for what I needed
at the dump. When I got there they had a section of the dump with them
piled up. I pulled a dozen of the things and there wasnt enough
degradation of any of them to mention.
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