Replacing anode rods in water heaters?

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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.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Ditto here. In my local area, I never saw a worn out(disappeared) anode.
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SteveB wrote:

How on earth are you going to "booger a thread"? These are pipe threads. Not exactly fragile things.
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Now that's funny ! ! !
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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: http://waterheaterrescue.com /
You can probably find the anodes cheaper if you hunt a bit.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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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 checking. 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.
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On Aug 20, 8:19�am, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

new heater will be more efficent and cut future energy costs:)
DONT open plastic tank drain valves, they have ONLY one purpose to drain tank atr end of life!!
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bob haller wrote: snipped

How is a new heater going to be more efficient? Is there a new way to heat water with electricity (other than microwave)? What is the source of your valves comment?
Lou
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LouB wrote:

Better insulation. Electronic thermostats. For gas water heaters: eliminate the pilot light.
Perce
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wrote:

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.
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wrote:
DONT open plastic tank drain valves, they have ONLY one purpose to drain tank atr end of life!!
Replace with full port ball valve.
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Roger Shoaf wrote:

Nonsense. I've used them multiple times without problems.

Excellent suggestion anyway.
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wrote:

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.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

But I don't wait for years before using the valve. Maybe that's the difference.
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I have successfully removed anode rods with an impact wrench. (Compressed air powered like they use to remove lugs when changing tires.)
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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.
Jimmie
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JIMMIE wrote:

That's odd.
Could you see rust on the bottom of the tanks?
--Winston
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JIMMIE wrote:

That's all those people that replace the tank because it's old, not because it needs to be replaced.
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On Wed, 19 Aug 2009 15:29:18 -0700, Salmon Egg

I think water heater anodes are best left alone. But I do give the tank an occasional 5-gallon flush. Supposedly a manufacturer recommended an expansion tank to extend tank life.
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Phisherman wrote:

If you don't have a pressure regulator or anti-backflow device, the expansion tank is a waste. Unless you turn off the water but leave the tank on, and have a tank thermostat failure.
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