PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

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ArmchairArchitect
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PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

Another thread on here prompted me to create this thread.

The anode rod is a sacrificial rod that is inside every water heater and is designed to corrode from minerals in the water, to prevent the tank itself from corroding.

Most people don't know what this is, and that it needs to be done, but doing it every few years GREATLY increases the lifespan of your water heater.

Pretty easy DIY job as well- see youtube for instructions (as well as your water heater user manual, which you can retrieve online with your model #).
Last edited by ArmchairArchitect on Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Chip
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Chip »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:47 am Pretty easy DIY job as well.
Only if the old rod breaks loose easily. On mine it was frozen and required serious effort to hold the water heater and keep it from turning while putting 200+ ft-lb on the rod. This was after an air impact wrench failed to break it loose.
zlandar
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by zlandar »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:47 am Another thread on here prompted me to create this thread.

The anode rod is a sacrificial rod that is inside every water heater and is designed to corrode from minerals in the water, to prevent the tank itself from corroding.

Most people don't know what this is, and that it needs to be done, but doing it every few years GREATLY increases the lifespan of your water heater.

Pretty easy DIY job as well.
Where do you buy your rods? Are the rods universal fit?

I tried to look for one at HD and Lowe's but neither carried them.

Edit: NVM I see it at my local HD online now. Could have sworn it was not there when I looked a few years ago.
Designairohio
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Designairohio »

Try this instead, I installed one of these years ago, my 20 year old tank works like new, and I’ve never replaced the anode rod

https://www.fieldcontrols.com/water-treatment-2/
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Voltaire2.0
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Voltaire2.0 »

Designairohio wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:07 pm Try this instead, I installed one of these years ago, my 20 year old tank works like new, and I’ve never replaced the anode rod

https://www.fieldcontrols.com/water-treatment-2/
Magnet "technology" has been promoted for years to solve everything from hard water to rheumatism to poor gas mileage. Caveat emptor.
Broken Man 1999
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

An additional anode extends the tank life warrantee for our last WH installed.

Broken Man 1999
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

zlandar wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:47 am
ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:47 am Another thread on here prompted me to create this thread.

The anode rod is a sacrificial rod that is inside every water heater and is designed to corrode from minerals in the water, to prevent the tank itself from corroding.

Most people don't know what this is, and that it needs to be done, but doing it every few years GREATLY increases the lifespan of your water heater.

Pretty easy DIY job as well.
Where do you buy your rods? Are the rods universal fit?

I tried to look for one at HD and Lowe's but neither carried them.

Edit: NVM I see it at my local HD online now. Could have sworn it was not there when I looked a few years ago.
Not universal fit-I looked up the part # in my user manual (and if you don't have the paper user manual, you can lookup the user manual online). Then typed it into Google Shopping to find the lowest price including shipping. Bought it from some random plumbing supply online store for $28 shipped.
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

Chip wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 11:40 am
ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:47 am Pretty easy DIY job as well.
Only if the old rod breaks loose easily. On mine it was frozen and required serious effort to hold the water heater and keep it from turning while putting 200+ ft-lb on the rod. This was after an air impact wrench failed to break it loose.
Yeah mine was stuck on really tight too. I used a heat gun to loosen whatever sealant was on the threads, and to expand the metal. I was able to turn it after that.
greenflamingo
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by greenflamingo »

Use some teflon tape when you replace it; you'll thank yourself in five years.

The difference between a tank with a 5 year warranty and a 10 year may be the size/number or anode rods. Corrosion is the enemy.
shunkman
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by shunkman »

Not really an easy DIY job if you have a Bradford White WH like many of us do. The anode rod in a Bradford White water heater is located at the hot water outlet of your tank. Unfortunately, it is not easily accessible. You must remove the hot water outlet to access it.
Shallowpockets
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Shallowpockets »

I suppose it is worth a try. Do it when you don’t need hot water for a time. Who knows what you will run into trying to unscrew it.
I have a Reliance Sta-clean 502. I looked. Ack on my Quicken records which has all my spending since Aug 2007. The water heater is not listed. Therefore this water heater is close to 12 years old. At least.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Chip
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Chip »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 12:31 pm Yeah mine was stuck on really tight too. I used a heat gun to loosen whatever sealant was on the threads, and to expand the metal. I was able to turn it after that.
Heat gun. Good idea. :oops:

Another issue people should be aware of is the required clearance above the water heater. You can always cut off a little of the replacement rod if necessary, or buy one of the "sausage link" style rods if clearance is an issue. Also, you can typically buy a replacement rod of a larger diameter than the original, which should last longer.
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

shunkman wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:33 pm Not really an easy DIY job if you have a Bradford White WH like many of us do. The anode rod in a Bradford White water heater is located at the hot water outlet of your tank. Unfortunately, it is not easily accessible. You must remove the hot water outlet to access it.
Yeah ours is a Bradford White. An annoying extra step which more than doubles the time to replace the anode rod, but luckily our hot water outlet piping is PEX (which allows the piping to spin inside the PEX clamp) so the job was still manageable. Some water heater installations also have stainless steel-braided water lines leading to the water heater, which are even easier to remove.

Plumbers all say Bradford White is top of the line (second best being AO Smith) so not sure why Bradford White designed the anode rod location this way; whether it was for efficiency purposes or just to create more work for plumbers, who in turn recommend Bradford White products.
marcwd
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by marcwd »

greenflamingo wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:12 pm Use some teflon tape when you replace it; you'll thank yourself in five years.

The difference between a tank with a 5 year warranty and a 10 year may be the size/number or anode rods. Corrosion is the enemy.
Hmmm, I just had my water heater replaced. Would it make sense to pull out the anode rod now before corrosion sets in and wrap the threads with Teflon tape?
marcwd
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by marcwd »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:59 pm
shunkman wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:33 pm Not really an easy DIY job if you have a Bradford White WH like many of us do. The anode rod in a Bradford White water heater is located at the hot water outlet of your tank. Unfortunately, it is not easily accessible. You must remove the hot water outlet to access it.
Yeah ours is a Bradford White. An annoying extra step which more than doubles the time to replace the anode rod, but luckily our hot water outlet piping is PEX (which allows the piping to spin inside the PEX clamp) so the job was still manageable. Some water heater installations also have stainless steel-braided water lines leading to the water heater, which are even easier to remove.

Plumbers all say Bradford White is top of the line (second best being AO Smith) so not sure why Bradford White designed the anode rod location this way; whether it was for efficiency purposes or just to create more work for plumbers, who in turn recommend Bradford White products.
Yes, I’m annoyed that the Bradford White I just had replaced didn’t facilitate an anode rod replacement. I made sure to tell the plumber that the new tank needed to have an accessible rod.
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by neilpilot »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:59 pm
Plumbers all say Bradford White is top of the line (second best being AO Smith) so not sure why Bradford White designed the anode rod location this way; whether it was for efficiency purposes or just to create more work for plumbers, who in turn recommend Bradford White products.
I wonder if plumbers recommend BW heaters based partially on their margin?

I'm also annoyed that I can't change the anode in my BW tank, since even if I go thru the trouble of disconnecting the existing anode there's insufficient head room to remove & replace the anode. I'm not sure a segmented anode is even available for the BW application.

I also question the quality of BW water heaters. About 8 years ago I replaced 2 older tanks with 6-yr warranty 50 gal Bradford White gas heaters. The igniter/gas valve control module failed on both tank within a few months of each other, before they reached 6 years. I was able to get warranty replacement parts from BW and did the replacement myself. But in essence each of my units failed at about 5 years.
shunkman
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by shunkman »

Maybe it's just me but it seems when I tackle an "easy DIY" plumbing project it usually turns out that it's not so easy. Something else usually breaks in the process. I have much better luck with other types of DIY projects.
quantAndHold
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by quantAndHold »

So if the hot water heater is 15+ years old with no maintenance in the meantime, should I still do this, or am I asking for trouble?

Asking for a friend...
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

quantAndHold wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:07 pm So if the hot water heater is 15+ years old with no maintenance in the meantime, should I still do this, or am I asking for trouble?

Asking for a friend...
Still do it, you'll extend the life of your water heater because the anode rod helps prevent further corrosion of the inside of your tank.
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telemark
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by telemark »

shunkman wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:46 pm Maybe it's just me but it seems when I tackle an "easy DIY" plumbing project it usually turns out that it's not so easy. Something else usually breaks in the process. I have much better luck with other types of DIY projects.
It's not just you. If nothing ever got stuck or corroded and if there weren't aging shutoff valves to deal with, then maybe it would be easy. :)

My water heater is squeezed under the bathroom counter in a space that was fine for the old, lightly insulated heaters but is just barely large enough for a modern one. Getting access to the anode rod would require completely removing the water heater and putting it back in, which is a job for a plumber. Someone mentioned that you can get replacement rods that are larger than the OEM rods. Maybe on my next heater I should put one of those in before getting the whole thing into place.
quantAndHold
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by quantAndHold »

telemark wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 4:55 pm
shunkman wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 3:46 pm Maybe it's just me but it seems when I tackle an "easy DIY" plumbing project it usually turns out that it's not so easy. Something else usually breaks in the process. I have much better luck with other types of DIY projects.
It's not just you. If nothing ever got stuck or corroded and if there weren't aging shutoff valves to deal with, then maybe it would be easy. :)

My water heater is squeezed under the bathroom counter in a space that was fine for the old, lightly insulated heaters but is just barely large enough for a modern one. Getting access to the anode rod would require completely removing the water heater and putting it back in, which is a job for a plumber. Someone mentioned that you can get replacement rods that are larger than the OEM rods. Maybe on my next heater I should put one of those in before getting the whole thing into place.
I’ve never done mine because it’s in a crawl space and no easy way to get the anode out. Apparently they make these anodes that look like sausage links that I need to look into.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
theplayer11
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by theplayer11 »

saw this thread, checked for the anode rod and couldn't find it everywhere. Googled my model and realized it was a stainless steel tank, no anode :D
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climber2020
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by climber2020 »

I looked into this a few years ago.

Anode rod replacement seems to be dependent on geography. Around where I live the hardware stores don’t even sell anode rods, and a local master plumber told me that this wasn’t necessary.
sport
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by sport »

I had a plumber replaced the anode in my 13 year old BW tank. He also insisted on replacing the pressure relief valve. He said it was necessary for safety. In the process, he damaged the tank and caused it to leak. So, my preventive maintenance caused a failure. :oops:

Of course, I cannot prove he broke the tank, and it was old after all. I had it replaced by a DIFFERENT plumber.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Here's a concise video on the topic covering most of the issues. Note the difficultly for a lifetime plumber getting the rod out. At some point, I think you risk doing more harm than good. Let sleeping dogs lie after too long.

https://youtu.be/2IUNIUZz4Os

Also shows a linked multi-segment rod at the end.
criticalmass
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by criticalmass »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:59 pm
shunkman wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:33 pm Not really an easy DIY job if you have a Bradford White WH like many of us do. The anode rod in a Bradford White water heater is located at the hot water outlet of your tank. Unfortunately, it is not easily accessible. You must remove the hot water outlet to access it.
Yeah ours is a Bradford White. An annoying extra step which more than doubles the time to replace the anode rod, but luckily our hot water outlet piping is PEX (which allows the piping to spin inside the PEX clamp) so the job was still manageable. Some water heater installations also have stainless steel-braided water lines leading to the water heater, which are even easier to remove.

Plumbers all say Bradford White is top of the line (second best being AO Smith) so not sure why Bradford White designed the anode rod location this way; whether it was for efficiency purposes or just to create more work for plumbers, who in turn recommend Bradford White products.
Bradford White water heaters are the best (for the plumber). As a consumer, I avoid them.
Retired1809
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Retired1809 »

Our water heater was in our house when we bought it in 1996 and it was not new then. That's 24 years ago so I don't know how old it is, just more than 24 years. I believe it was made by State. I've never touched it other than to hose out a little water from the bottom every few years.

I'm relunctant to touch it. But thanks anyway.

Question: Should I replace it now strictly due to its age? My experience with other appliances is that the ones made more than 25 years ago last much longer than the ones made since then. Our KitchenAid dishwasher is at least 30 years old and works like a charm. My guess is that the water heaters made today won't last 24 years.
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

climber2020 wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:26 pm I looked into this a few years ago.

Anode rod replacement seems to be dependent on geography. Around where I live the hardware stores don’t even sell anode rods, and a local master plumber told me that this wasn’t necessary.
So just because you can't get a specialty part locally means you can't obtain the part? I bought mine online, cheap, $28 shipped (as mentioned). If I had to count only on local stores for parts to maintain all my possessions, I'd be SOL.

Your local "master" plumber telling you that = he's either an idiot, or prefers the more profitable work of replacing the entire water heater down the line.

The entire purpose of the anode rod is to take a sacrificial hit and rust/deteriorate so that your tank itself does not do so. Look it up yourself online. Also, per my water heater user manual:

"If depletion is ½ of the original anode diameter (approximately ¾” diameter), replacement is recommended. If any of the steel core of the anode is exposed, replacement is recommended."

How long an anode rod will last depends on the type of water you have; but average lifespan of the anode rod is a few years. Once the anode rod is depleted, the rust will start to attack the tank itself.
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F150HD
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by F150HD »

a lot of water heater threads on here the past X months that reference this same info which makes this thread a bit redundant.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=300309&p=4952228&h ... e#p4952228
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Cubicle
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Cubicle »

I have a Brdford White with less than 12 inches of clearance above it. The tank is probably ~14 years old. I'm essentially waiting for it to fail. It's in an unfinished basement so when it leaks & I'll boil water on the stove until the next Saturday & change the tank.

The clearwave looks really gimmicky. But I have hard water & do generally worry about the copper piping developing pinholes. It's not that cheap from web searching for a few minutes, but I'd gladly pay if it does help.

Anyone have any experiences with this or other electronic/magnetic water softeners? Not really interested in a salt tank softener.
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Chip
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Chip »

Cubicle wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:14 am The clearwave looks really gimmicky. But I have hard water & do generally worry about the copper piping developing pinholes. It's not that cheap from web searching for a few minutes, but I'd gladly pay if it does help.

Anyone have any experiences with this or other electronic/magnetic water softeners? Not really interested in a salt tank softener.
Well, by saying you don't want a salt-based softener you've eliminated the inexpensive, well-proven technology that will actually soften your water. Try to find a single reputable study showing that any sort of magnetic system actually softens water.

With all other things equal, hard water is less corrosive than soft water. The scale that forms inside pipes actually protects them from corroding. Indicators of corrosivity include the Langelier Saturation Index and the Ryznar Stability Index.
likegarden
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by likegarden »

I remember that with hard water there were always deposits around bathroom and kitchen faucets and surfaces, and some corrosion. With a water softener we have bathroom and kitchen sinks and surfaces clean looking. That seems to indicate that my water heater also should have less deposits, less corrosion and less anode rod usage. Anyway, the heating technician reviewing that equipment in the basement annually would give me a warning I hope.
Retired1809
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Retired1809 »

Should a 24+ year-old water heater be replaced if it is working fine strictly because of its age?
alfaspider
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by alfaspider »

Retired1809 wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:49 am Should a 24+ year-old water heater be replaced if it is working fine strictly because of its age?
Might depend on whether it is properly set up to drain and what is under it if it leaks. If it does not have a catch basin with a drain, and is in a place where a leak would cause water damage, then it may be worth looking into a proactive replacement. Current code requires a drain, but older heaters may not be installed consistent with code.
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by sjt »

Retired1809 wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:49 am Should a 24+ year-old water heater be replaced if it is working fine strictly because of its age?
Wow. Might be worth reaching out to the manufacturer - they might give you a new unit like that guy who reached 1 million miles on his Honda...
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by sschoe2 »

Not always possible. I have a Bradford White. In order to change the anode rod I would have to unsolder the hot water outlet pipes, take out the entire outlet assembly, replace the rod (which I don't have enough headroom and they don't make a segmented rod/outlet assembly) and then resolder the hot water port. When my hot water heater fails I will be sure to get one that is easier to replace the anode rod though. For now all I can do is flush it.
Luke Duke
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Luke Duke »

Search Amazon for "Water Heater Anode" and you will see all kinds of options. Get a kit that includes the socket. I recommend doing a little research regarding aluminum vs magnesium anodes.

I would also recommend replacing the drain valve on any new water heater. You can also retrofit an existing water heater if you're comfortable doing so. The factory valves are plastic valves with a reduced port which makes draining/flushing your water heater more difficult. A full-port brass ball valve is the way to go.
http://www.amazon.com/House-Mods-HMP010 ... 074DGWLXZ/

It's also a good idea to measure the length of the anode on a new water heater and write it on the side with a permanent marker.
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by JediMisty »

shunkman wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:33 pm Not really an easy DIY job if you have a Bradford White WH like many of us do. The anode rod in a Bradford White water heater is located at the hot water outlet of your tank. Unfortunately, it is not easily accessible. You must remove the hot water outlet to access it.
That is my manufacturer, too. Thanks for posting. FWIW, it lasted 18 years. Plumber wouldn't entertain trying to fix it, but I got a $500 rebate from NJ on the replacement, so not all that expensive.
sschoe2
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by sschoe2 »

JediMisty wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:51 am That is my manufacturer, too. Thanks for posting. FWIW, it lasted 18 years. Plumber wouldn't entertain trying to fix it, but I got a $500 rebate from NJ on the replacement, so not all that expensive.
What was wrong with it? Typically if it isn't leaking/rusted out the other issue is the flame sensor is dirty/failed. It takes about 30 minutes to replace and costs ~$10. All gas appliances have a flame sensor as a safety device so that you aren't feeding gas to an unlit appliance allowing a dangerous buildup of gas. It is essentially a metal rod that when the flame hit it generates a very small current. It looks a bit like a grill igniter.
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NavyIC3
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by NavyIC3 »

I have an 11 year old 75 gal BW gas WH. I replaced the anode rod twice. It was an easy job since the anode rod was located on the top and was not connected to the outlet. Bought it on-line from SupplyHouse.com for about $16 + shipping.
shunkman
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by shunkman »

Luke Duke wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:24 am
I would also recommend replacing the drain valve on any new water heater. You can also retrofit an existing water heater if you're comfortable doing so. The factory valves are plastic valves with a reduced port which makes draining/flushing your water heater more difficult. A full-port brass ball valve is the way to go.
My new Bradford White WH came with a brass drain valve. The brass drain valve on my old WH was dripping. I used a brass garden hose cap to fix it. This is cheaper, much easier, and still an effective solution.

https://www.amazon.com/REGNHLIF-Pack-Br ... 169&sr=8-4
JediMisty
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by JediMisty »

sschoe2 wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:35 pm
JediMisty wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 11:51 am That is my manufacturer, too. Thanks for posting. FWIW, it lasted 18 years. Plumber wouldn't entertain trying to fix it, but I got a $500 rebate from NJ on the replacement, so not all that expensive.
What was wrong with it? Typically if it isn't leaking/rusted out the other issue is the flame sensor is dirty/failed. It takes about 30 minutes to replace and costs ~$10. All gas appliances have a flame sensor as a safety device so that you aren't feeding gas to an unlit appliance allowing a dangerous buildup of gas. It is essentially a metal rod that when the flame hit it generates a very small current. It looks a bit like a grill igniter.
It was leaking - big time and had shut off. My housemate shut it off while I was on vacation once it shut off and he could see it was leaking. I turned it back on a few days later and it was leaking again and shut down on it's own again.
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hand
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by hand »

criticalmass wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:57 pm
Bradford White water heaters are the best (for the plumber). As a consumer, I avoid them.
That is my conclusion too - there is no other excuse for intentionally making required maintenance more difficult.
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ArmchairArchitect
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by ArmchairArchitect »

hand wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 3:21 pm
criticalmass wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 7:57 pm
Bradford White water heaters are the best (for the plumber). As a consumer, I avoid them.
That is my conclusion too - there is no other excuse for intentionally making required maintenance more difficult.
Unfortunately I agree. And plumbers are in on Bradford White's game as they all seem to recommend Bradford White for the extra work (fees) it creates for them in the long-term.

Our house came with a Bradford White but when the purchase decision is mine, I will avoid this brand because of its anti-consumer practices/design.
jaxxmjd
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by jaxxmjd »

I just completed this maintenance for my Bradford White with the noted complexities listed above. I watched a couple of YouTube videos in advance and was prepared for the steps that were necessary, so it wasn't a particularly difficult process. All of my lines are currently CPVC, so while I was doing the swap, I cut out a section of the CPVC on the hot water outlet side and installed a SharkBite flex line that connects directly to the anode rode/hot water outlet side. I made sure to use teflon tape and pipe dope on the joints to prevent leaks and the flex line will make future replacements quite easy. The only thing I might have done differently was getting a sectional rod that can bend to accommodate smaller spaces. In the end, I used a hacksaw (cutting slowly because magnesium can ignite if it gets too hot) to remove about 5" of length and voila.

I would highly recommend the flex line "hack" to anyone considering doing this for a Bradford White.
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dratkinson
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by dratkinson »

Retired1809 wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:21 pm Our water heater was in our house when we bought it in 1996 and it was not new then. That's 24 years ago so I don't know how old it is, just more than 24 years. I believe it was made by State. I've never touched it other than to hose out a little water from the bottom every few years.

I'm relunctant to touch it. But thanks anyway.

Question: Should I replace it now strictly due to its age? My experience with other appliances is that the ones made more than 25 years ago last much longer than the ones made since then. Our KitchenAid dishwasher is at least 30 years old and works like a charm. My guess is that the water heaters made today won't last 24 years.
If the anode has not been periodically replaced, then now would be a good time to replace it. It might last to 30yrs, but it's on its last leg.

Buy a WatchDog water alarm (HD) and place under/beside WH, just as a CYA.

Worst case.
--Can heat water in a metal dishpan on a stovetop, and then place in tub/show to bathe. It's not too bad, and much better than the alternative.
--Believe most dishwashers can heat their own water. Or heat water on stovetop to wash dishes by hand.
--Cold water can be used for almost everything else.



Disclosure. Similar situation. Bought house with old WH. Plumbers would not replace anode because I risked a leaking tank due to the rust they knew was already building up in it.

Chickened out and replaced tank proactively at ~30yrs and found it full of rust.

Researched beforehand the capabilities I wanted.
--Normally aspirated, NG.
--Magnesium anode (not aluminum).
--Anode in second port (easier to change).
--Brass ball valve (less likely to leak than compression valve).

Plumber #1 only sold BW.

Plumber #2 parts guy researched and suggested Rheem Professional WH as doing all I wanted. They agreed to installed it, come back after 6yrs (warranty expiration) to replace anode (~$200), and every 5yrs thereafter. Will need a segmented (sausage link) anode due to tall WH; parts guy gave me the anode part#.

Toys for boys. Plan to buy a small inspection camera (HF) before then to inspect tank interior during anode change. Plan is to use anode wear and results of tank inspection to tweak next anode replacement due date.

Electrical conductivity. The anode must be electrically conductive to do its job. Teflon tape wrapped 3-4 times around male anode threads (to ease installation) should not cause a conductivity problem on tapered pipe threads. However, a dozen wraps of Teflon tape could cause anode to become inert and not do its job. Solution: Before refilling tank, double check plumber's work with a multimeter to ensure zero resistance between tank and anode, just as a CYA.

All this information, reminders, WH owner's manual, and plumber's business card are taped to WH's side.
--Flush sediment annually during furnace startup (6mo flush produced nada so to switched to annual).
--Call plumbers back at 6yrs to replace anode (segmented magnesium anode part#).
--Idea: Inspect tank interior during anode replacement (buy inspection camera).
--CYA: Test replaced anode's electrical conductivity before refilling tank (so plumbers can fix if necessary).

That's all I remember from going through the process.


I'm at the point in life where I'd rather pay someone who knows what they are doing, to do this work for me, rather then mess around with unknown gotchas in the process of trying to save a dollar.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
mhalley
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by mhalley »

I think whether to replace a very old hot water tank depends on what would happen if it developed a serious leak. If it is the garage and nothing bad would happen, take your chances. If it would cause major water damage inside the house, replacement could prevent costly repairs to carpet, hardwood, etc.
Retired1809
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Location: North Carolina, USA

Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Retired1809 »

At the risk of asking a dumb question, does anyone have a suggestion about how I can determine the age of my water heater. All I know is that it was in the house we bought in 1996. I've looked all over the water heater but can't find any date.
renue74
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by renue74 »

I have 10 rental houses. I just changed a heating element in a Bradford water heater last Friday...in a 48” crawl space.

1.). BW water heaters seem to be no better than any other ones I’ve seen. Plumbers do get BW units at a discount and follow the old “licensed plumbers can only buy these.” I see no advantage.

2.). Water heaters for my rental houses run about $500 or $600 for a unit from Lowe’s. I can install one in about 2 hours....removing the old one and putting the new in, alone.

I feel like the other poster who said keep it as is...I would risk more fiddling with it.
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F150HD
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by F150HD »

Retired1809 wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 8:09 pm At the risk of asking a dumb question, does anyone have a suggestion about how I can determine the age of my water heater. All I know is that it was in the house we bought in 1996. I've looked all over the water heater but can't find any date.

https://www.waterheaterhub.com/water-heater-age-lookup/
Last edited by F150HD on Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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