I have read and heard that there is a special rod in a water heater. The
idea, I guess, is to keep the tank from rusting inside. Not sure how.
Anyway, we bought our house about 4 years ago and as part of the deal
had a new water heater put in. Is there a way to see this rod? Is it
something to worry with? Is it something a generally handy type person
Its a legit idea, but the hassle and possible damage or causing a leak
isnt worth it to me.
So every 8 to 12 years I install a new tank, thats not much money in
comparision with everything else it costs to live.
$2500 bucks for a lifetime...
Now compare that to likely twice as many new cars in the same time
20 grand times 10 is $200,000 plus insurance repairs etc etc........
Hot water tanks are cheap..........
As Hallerb says ....it's a legit site but I agree with him about the
hassle / savings analysis
except in my case (must be water conditions) my w/h's last even longer.
I replaced a w/h heater in 1980 & then in 2004. The 1980 unit was
replacing one installed in 1963 (not my install)
So I'm getting something like ~20 years per w/h
If I "properly" maintained the w/h how much longer would it last?
So I jsut forget about it.
Of course if your live where the water chem is a problem then maybe
replacing the anode might make sense.
I did just that about a year ago, on a water heater that was about 5
years old at that time. What was needed was a six pointed socket
1-1/16", breaker bar, and a 4 foot section of pipe for extra leverage.
What I found was the top 12" of the anode rod was deteriorated, but
the rest of the rod was just fine. Put the rod back with teflon tape
for easier removal the next time. I also purchased a "segmented"
replacement anode for easier installation the next time.
Just remember to turn off the gas, and the incoming cold water, and to
drain a few buckets of water from the unit before you start the
process. Go slowly, and don't force anything.
I also checked mine recently on a a gas heater that is about 5 years
old now. The rod appeared to be about half way through it's life.
I'll recheck in about 2 years.
Certainly the concept behind this is sound and well known. The rod is
a sacrificial anode, made of a less noble metal, (magnesium I think),
which will corrode instead of the tank. It's the same principle used
on every boat, where zincs are used to protect underwater metal.
I guess the remaining question is if it will in fact extend the life of
the heater enough to make it worthwhile to check and replace the anode.
It would seem that it should, because if it didn't significantly
protect the tank, the manufacturers wouldn't install them. Plus,
checking it gives some indication of how much corrosion is going on.
If you see a rod decaying away rapidly, even if you choose not to
replace it, you know that the heater is in an environment where it's
not likely to last a long time.
1. My hot water heater is built by AO Smith. I believe that I got the
segmented replacement anode rod from them.
2. I did not have a problem with the tank turning when the 4' section
of pipe was used for extra leverage. The 50 gallon tank was more than
3/4 full when I removed the anode rod. However, I applied constant
pressure on the pipe, rather than a hard tap, jolting motion.
3. I did have a ceiling clearance problem, but was able to raise the
anode rod high enough to see that only the top few inches was corroded,
but the remaining length of the rod was still the full diameter. Note
- the replacement anode rod was segmented - the individual sections are
about 12" long, connected together by flexible braided wire.
Home Depot sells replacement anode rods.
I had to use an impact wrench on mine to break it free. With a tank
full of water, its usually not a problem to keep it from turning,
especially if you have a helper grabbing the tank. An impact wrench
works wonders too.
Once lose, its easy to remove. Its usually so far gone that its fairly
flexible and can be bent to clear the ceiling. Putting a new one in
is different. HD sells flexible rods just for this purpose.
I think one of the easiest ways to get the tank to last the longest and
save some energy is to set the water temperature as low as you can....
I set it so that the water is just a little hotter than I like for a
anode might be under top cover
keeping temp low helps tank life a lot since it minimizes thermal shock
as very cold water enters very hot tank
another issue.tanks continue to become more efficent, so a 20 year old
tank can be a energy piggie
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.