What To Know About Replacing A Water Heater Anode Rod

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Do you have an old water heater? Chances are that the anode rod has deteriorated and corrosion is now happening to the steel shell of the hot water heater. Thankfully, it is possible to replace the anode rod so that the steel is protected. Here is what you should know about replacing the anode rod on your own.

How The Anode Rods Work

Your hot water tank is made out of steel, but the interior is covered with a special enamel coating. It is often referred to as being glass lined. It is designed to give the steel some added protection. In order to prevent the water from causing the steel shell to corrode and rust. A sacrificial anode rod is used to help prevent the steel from corroding within the tank.

The anode rod works because it is made with aluminum, magnesium, or zinc. These are metals that are not as noble as steel, meaning that they will attract the acids that cause rust and corrosion first. When the anode rod has completely deteriorated, corrosion will start happening to the shell of the tank. 

How To Locate The Anode Rod

It can be tricky to find the anode rod, so it is worth looking for the owner's manual for your hot water heater. Sometimes the rod must be accessed by removing the top cover of the hot water heater, since it is hidden underneath. Other times the rod is out in the open and can be easily accessed.

How to Remove The Anode Rod

Start by turning off the hot water tank and letting it cool down. You can use a socket wrench to remove the hex bolt that holds the anode rod in place. It will take a bit of force to loosen the anode rod, so it is worth having someone hold the water tank to prevent it from moving around while you put some serious strength on the wrench. Lift the anode rod out of the water heater, and you'll be able to see how corroded it is from protecting your hot water heater.

How To Replace The Anode Rod

All you need to do is slide a new anode rod into the hot water heater and secure the hex bolt in place. It is a standard sized part in terms of the bolt size, but there are various lengths that will need to be checked against the height of your water heater.

Reach out to a plumber if you need help performing this hot water heater repair service.