Before sharing more on how to change a water heater anode rod, let us first ask the question why would you need to change that part?

The anode rod delays rusting and corrosion and extend the life of your water heater.

This is why the thickness of your anode rod is related with the amount of years you get with your guarantee. The ticker the rod is, the more years are added to your guarantee and it can reach up to 12 years with the widest rods.

Once the rod is fully defeated by corrosion next is the body of the unit and this can explain why the guarantee usually expires after 6, 9 or 12 years accordingly.

3 Main reasons for the process of corrosion:
1). Oxygen and moisture
2). Are you currently not getting enough boiling water?
3). Heat

By replacing your anode rod you are literally extending your water heater’s life.

We recommend replacing your rod once per six years. If you are not sure what’s the current state of the rod your best decision might be reminding your plumber to check the its state during the yearly maintenance drain service.

A couple of anode rod insights to have in mind:

  • There are two types of anode rods: one with a hex head and one with a nipple that goes into the hot water.
  • There are 3 options for material:
    • Aluminum – interchangeable depending on the brand
    • Magnesium – interchangeable depending on the brand
    • Zinc aluminum – for water sources with sulfur, a.k.a. ‘smelly water’

The whole is the same size and all heaters, but some rods are longer and thicker going off the model.

Serial number is the best way to ensure a proper fit.

The solution for the limited space above the heater:

If limited space above the heater prevent the installation of a standard anode rod you can purchase and install the collapsible type.

Basic Instructions for Installing a New Water Heater Rod:

  1. Turn off the water in fuel supply (gas or electricity) to the water heater.
  2. Partially drain the water heater around 6 inches just to give access, but keep weight in the tank.
  3. Locate the anode rod on the water heater.
  4. If necessary unscrew and lift off the cover of the top of the heater (optional)
  5. Use a ratchet wrench and 1 & 1/16 inch deep socket to unscrew the anode rod from the heater:
  • if it is the nipple type you will need an adjustable wrench;
  • if the enel type doesn’t budge then slip a steel pipe onto the ratchet handle for extra leverage.

6. Lift out and discard the old anode rod.

7. Wrap  teflon tape around the threads of the new anode rod, insert it into the water heater and tighten with 1 1/16 inches socket.

8. Turn the water and fuel supply to the water heater back on and you are done.

To make it even easier for you we are always available to do the replacement for you. Just call (858) 699-3185 and get yourself scheduled for an anode rod replacement.

We’ve done this hundreds of times and our loyal clients are a great testament for the quality of our service.

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