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

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

Post by barnaclebob »

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/
Dont give this waste of money credit for anything.
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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 »

Chip wrote: Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:13 amWell, 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.
New info to me, thanks for posting. I did light reading on salt based water softeners, the equipment prices seemed really high. The clear wave water thingy seemed like a bargain... which makes sense if it doesn't actually work.

And I didn't think about hard water being less corrosive... Kinda makes sense. More reading to be done.

Thanks.
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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 11:37 pm I did light reading on salt based water softeners, the equipment prices seemed really high.
The softeners I bought have been around $500 plus installation. Though I installed them myself. Then maybe $30 a year for salt.
brianH
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by brianH »

My 12y heat pump water heater has non-serviceable anode rods.

I've always considered this 'life hack' to be of dubious value. The real thing protecting your tank is the glass lining. Once that starts to go or the tank is rusting from the exterior, anode or not, it's going to die soon. The other issue is sediment and the difficulty with flushing all of it out. Eventually, the buildup will be to thick to flush, and the tank loses most of its efficiency.

So, by flushing the tank yearly, and replacing the anode every 3-4 years, maybe you can squeeze another 3-4 years out of a tank that costs under $800. That's assuming there's no issues with the heat-generating components, or that you don't mind throwing money at those as well. I think it's easier to treat a WH as a disposable item, and replace at the 12-15y mark.
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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 »

Chip wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:20 amThe softeners I bought have been around $500 plus installation. Though I installed them myself. Then maybe $30 a year for salt.
Thanks for the tip! I digged into the prices more & yep, much better pricing. I was seeing $2,000 online. Maybe that includes labor. I'd do it myself.

Did you have a noticeable drop in water pressure? I've been hearing yes & no from people I've asked.
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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: Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:05 am Did you have a noticeable drop in water pressure? I've been hearing yes & no from people I've asked.
No. But my unregulated incoming pressure is around 100 psi, so maybe I wouldn't notice.
Hogan773
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Hogan773 »

I think in Chicago area our water is relatively "hard" which prolongs the life of water heaters yes?

I was all ready to replace my anode rods back in 2014 when the heaters were about 10yrs old. Couldn't budge them even with some cheater bar and help from my Dad. We gave up in the end rather than risk breaking the top seal or piping or something especially since the heaters were seemingly working fine. I think now that I have a proper impact wrench I would try to use that, but I'm perhaps reluctant to disturb a non-leaking 16yr old unit. I have 2 that are plumbed in series so the chances they both fail at the same time are low. They are on tile floor in the utility room of the basement but unfortunately no drain pans it seems...they should have one because I have 2 sump pits a couple feet away....maybe the floor is sloped a little there but I'm not sure but a major flood would leak out into the carpeted basement
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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 »

Hogan773 wrote: Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:42 pm I think in Chicago area our water is relatively "hard" which prolongs the life of water heaters yes?

I was all ready to replace my anode rods back in 2014 when the heaters were about 10yrs old. Couldn't budge them even with some cheater bar and help from my Dad. We gave up in the end rather than risk breaking the top seal or piping or something especially since the heaters were seemingly working fine. I think now that I have a proper impact wrench I would try to use that, but I'm perhaps reluctant to disturb a non-leaking 16yr old unit. I have 2 that are plumbed in series so the chances they both fail at the same time are low. They are on tile floor in the utility room of the basement but unfortunately no drain pans it seems...they should have one because I have 2 sump pits a couple feet away....maybe the floor is sloped a little there but I'm not sure but a major flood would leak out into the carpeted basement
See my post above, use a heat gun to loosen the thread sealant and expand the metal. Mine was impossible to budge as well, until I did this.
drg02b
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by drg02b »

The house I bought had a ~25 year old AO Smith water heater in it... last summer I finally got the old anode loose (threads were really rusty) -- the last anode still had some life left on it, but I popped a new one in. Water heaters usually die for one of two reasons: 1) corrosion due to the anode being fully used, or 2) burner control failure... so agree it's a cheap fix to pro-long the life of the water heater.
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 »

marcwd wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:49 pm
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?
I'd be tempted to do that. It takes some time to drain, etc...but it would probably make your future self happy. It was a DOOSIE to get my 10+ year old rod loose.
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: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:40 pm
marcwd wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:49 pm
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?
I'd be tempted to do that. It takes some time to drain, etc...but it would probably make your future self happy. It was a DOOSIE to get my 10+ year old rod loose.
Thanks, yes, I’ve asked my contractor friend to bring over his impact wrench. I understand that even new rods can be difficult to loosen. The manufacturer cements them in, perhaps.

Also, from what I’ve seen, I shouldn’t need to drain much of the tank. Just a few inches, I believe.
mpnret
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by mpnret »

Mine just hit 20 years. I regularly check the anode rod with a multi meter. Manufacturer says anything between .3 ma and 30 ma is good. I'm at 8 ma.
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 »

mpnret wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:27 pm Mine just hit 20 years. I regularly check the anode rod with a multi meter. Manufacturer says anything between .3 ma and 30 ma is good. I'm at 8 ma.
How are you measuring this current? Do you unscrew (but not remove) the rod from the tank and insert an ammeter between the rod and tank?
mpnret
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by mpnret »

marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:40 pm
mpnret wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:27 pm Mine just hit 20 years. I regularly check the anode rod with a multi meter. Manufacturer says anything between .3 ma and 30 ma is good. I'm at 8 ma.
How are you measuring this current? Do you unscrew (but not remove) the rod from the tank and insert an ammeter between the rod and tank?
Mine is made by Buderus which is most likely different than most.
Here is the section of the owners manual I follow:

8.3.2 Checking the anode rod without emptying
the tank
Conduct the measurement as follows:
1. Measure the protective current only when the tank is
filled with water.
Values between 0.3 mA and 30 mA are good.
2. Disconnect the anode ground wire (Fig. 15, Item 5) at
one of the two connection points.
3. Set the multimeter (MM)(Fig. 15, Item 1) to mA DC
(milliamps).
4. Connect the black cable (Fig. 15, Item 7) on the MM to
a hex screw (Fig. 15, Item 8) on the access port cover.
5 Connect the red cable (Fig. 15, Item 6) on the MM to
the anode.
Connect terminals to shiny metal surfaces only.
Hogan773
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Hogan773 »

mpnret wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:39 am
marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:40 pm
mpnret wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:27 pm Mine just hit 20 years. I regularly check the anode rod with a multi meter. Manufacturer says anything between .3 ma and 30 ma is good. I'm at 8 ma.
How are you measuring this current? Do you unscrew (but not remove) the rod from the tank and insert an ammeter between the rod and tank?
Mine is made by Buderus which is most likely different than most.
Here is the section of the owners manual I follow:

8.3.2 Checking the anode rod without emptying
the tank
Conduct the measurement as follows:
1. Measure the protective current only when the tank is
filled with water.
Values between 0.3 mA and 30 mA are good.
2. Disconnect the anode ground wire (Fig. 15, Item 5) at
one of the two connection points.
3. Set the multimeter (MM)(Fig. 15, Item 1) to mA DC
(milliamps).
4. Connect the black cable (Fig. 15, Item 7) on the MM to
a hex screw (Fig. 15, Item 8) on the access port cover.
5 Connect the red cable (Fig. 15, Item 6) on the MM to
the anode.
Connect terminals to shiny metal surfaces only.
That's interesting! Wonder if I can do that on my Richmond

I now have a good impact wrench that can likely bust open my anode hex nut if necessary but for a 16yr old water heater I'm a little hesitant to mess with it. Maybe it will last 20-25 years and at that point I can pay the $750 or whatever to get a brand new one, and then before I even install it I would open the anode rod and put some Teflon tape or pipe thread sealant on it

Has anyone attempted to DIY their water heater replacement? Just a random question really
Housedoc
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Housedoc »

Hogan773 wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:36 am
mpnret wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:39 am
marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:40 pm
mpnret wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:27 pm Mine just hit 20 years. I regularly check the anode rod with a multi meter. Manufacturer says anything between .3 ma and 30 ma is good. I'm at 8 ma.
How are you measuring this current? Do you unscrew (but not remove) the rod from the tank and insert an ammeter between the rod and tank?
Mine is made by Buderus which is most likely different than most.
Here is the section of the owners manual I follow:

8.3.2 Checking the anode rod without emptying
the tank
Conduct the measurement as follows:
1. Measure the protective current only when the tank is
filled with water.
Values between 0.3 mA and 30 mA are good.
2. Disconnect the anode ground wire (Fig. 15, Item 5) at
one of the two connection points.
3. Set the multimeter (MM)(Fig. 15, Item 1) to mA DC
(milliamps).
4. Connect the black cable (Fig. 15, Item 7) on the MM to
a hex screw (Fig. 15, Item 8) on the access port cover.
5 Connect the red cable (Fig. 15, Item 6) on the MM to
the anode.
Connect terminals to shiny metal surfaces only.
That's interesting! Wonder if I can do that on my Richmond

I now have a good impact wrench that can likely bust open my anode hex nut if necessary but for a 16yr old water heater I'm a little hesitant to mess with it. Maybe it will last 20-25 years and at that point I can pay the $750 or whatever to get a brand new one, and then before I even install it I would open the anode rod and put some Teflon tape or pipe thread sealant on it

Has anyone attempted to DIY their water heater replacement? Just a random question really
I have replaced a few. No it a big deal. Added expansion tank to some.
Hogan773
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Hogan773 »

I do a bunch of automotive and other household DIY but have never done copper pipe work (yet?)
neilpilot
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by neilpilot »

marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:56 pm
greenflamingo wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:40 pm
marcwd wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:49 pm
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?
I'd be tempted to do that. It takes some time to drain, etc...but it would probably make your future self happy. It was a DOOSIE to get my 10+ year old rod loose.
Thanks, yes, I’ve asked my contractor friend to bring over his impact wrench. I understand that even new rods can be difficult to loosen. The manufacturer cements them in, perhaps.

Also, from what I’ve seen, I shouldn’t need to drain much of the tank. Just a few inches, I believe.
You do realize that the function of the anode rod relies on electrical conduction between the top mounting threads of the rod and your tank? This may have been discussed earlier in this thread. Some teflon tape would be fine, but don't use enough tape to completely insulate the threads from the tank. If you do, the rod will not function.
marcwd
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Location: Massachusetts

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

Post by marcwd »

mpnret wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:39 am
marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:40 pm
mpnret wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:27 pm Mine just hit 20 years. I regularly check the anode rod with a multi meter. Manufacturer says anything between .3 ma and 30 ma is good. I'm at 8 ma.
How are you measuring this current? Do you unscrew (but not remove) the rod from the tank and insert an ammeter between the rod and tank?
Mine is made by Buderus which is most likely different than most.
Here is the section of the owners manual I follow:

8.3.2 Checking the anode rod without emptying
the tank
Conduct the measurement as follows:
1. Measure the protective current only when the tank is
filled with water.
Values between 0.3 mA and 30 mA are good.
2. Disconnect the anode ground wire (Fig. 15, Item 5) at
one of the two connection points.
3. Set the multimeter (MM)(Fig. 15, Item 1) to mA DC
(milliamps).
4. Connect the black cable (Fig. 15, Item 7) on the MM to
a hex screw (Fig. 15, Item 8) on the access port cover.
5 Connect the red cable (Fig. 15, Item 6) on the MM to
the anode.
Connect terminals to shiny metal surfaces only.
Thanks, the procedure makes sense to me. But as you say, your Buderus is different from most other water heaters. Conventionally, the ground connection is made at the metal mounting threads, not by a separate wire. So one would have to unbolt the rod to make a current reading. And at that point, simply replacing the rod makes the most sense.
marcwd
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Location: Massachusetts

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

Post by marcwd »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:34 pm
marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:56 pm
greenflamingo wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:40 pm
marcwd wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:49 pm
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?
I'd be tempted to do that. It takes some time to drain, etc...but it would probably make your future self happy. It was a DOOSIE to get my 10+ year old rod loose.
Thanks, yes, I’ve asked my contractor friend to bring over his impact wrench. I understand that even new rods can be difficult to loosen. The manufacturer cements them in, perhaps.

Also, from what I’ve seen, I shouldn’t need to drain much of the tank. Just a few inches, I believe.
You do realize that the function of the anode rod relies on electrical conduction between the top mounting threads of the rod and your tank? This may have been discussed earlier in this thread. Some teflon tape would be fine, but don't use enough tape to completely insulate the threads from the tank. If you do, the rod will not function.
Yes, I completely understand this. My expectation is that a layer of two or three wraps of tape would invariably be cut through during the threading/tightening process resulting in a metal-to-metal electrical connection. An ohmmeter check could confirm.
Hogan773
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Hogan773 »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:34 pm
marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:56 pm
greenflamingo wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:40 pm
marcwd wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:49 pm
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?
I'd be tempted to do that. It takes some time to drain, etc...but it would probably make your future self happy. It was a DOOSIE to get my 10+ year old rod loose.
Thanks, yes, I’ve asked my contractor friend to bring over his impact wrench. I understand that even new rods can be difficult to loosen. The manufacturer cements them in, perhaps.

Also, from what I’ve seen, I shouldn’t need to drain much of the tank. Just a few inches, I believe.
You do realize that the function of the anode rod relies on electrical conduction between the top mounting threads of the rod and your tank? This may have been discussed earlier in this thread. Some teflon tape would be fine, but don't use enough tape to completely insulate the threads from the tank. If you do, the rod will not function.
oh this is good to know!

Here I would have slathered on some pipe joint compound if I ever replaced my rod
marcwd
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Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:15 am
Location: Massachusetts

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

Post by marcwd »

Hogan773 wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 4:27 pm
neilpilot wrote: Tue Mar 03, 2020 3:34 pm
marcwd wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:56 pm
greenflamingo wrote: Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:40 pm
marcwd wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:49 pm

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?
I'd be tempted to do that. It takes some time to drain, etc...but it would probably make your future self happy. It was a DOOSIE to get my 10+ year old rod loose.
Thanks, yes, I’ve asked my contractor friend to bring over his impact wrench. I understand that even new rods can be difficult to loosen. The manufacturer cements them in, perhaps.

Also, from what I’ve seen, I shouldn’t need to drain much of the tank. Just a few inches, I believe.
You do realize that the function of the anode rod relies on electrical conduction between the top mounting threads of the rod and your tank? This may have been discussed earlier in this thread. Some teflon tape would be fine, but don't use enough tape to completely insulate the threads from the tank. If you do, the rod will not function.
oh this is good to know!

Here I would have slathered on some pipe joint compound if I ever replaced my rod
Highly unlikely that some pipe dope would electrically isolate the rod from the tank.
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 »

brianH wrote: Tue Feb 04, 2020 9:58 am My 12y heat pump water heater has non-serviceable anode rods.

I've always considered this 'life hack' to be of dubious value. The real thing protecting your tank is the glass lining. Once that starts to go or the tank is rusting from the exterior, anode or not, it's going to die soon. The other issue is sediment and the difficulty with flushing all of it out. Eventually, the buildup will be to thick to flush, and the tank loses most of its efficiency.

So, by flushing the tank yearly, and replacing the anode every 3-4 years, maybe you can squeeze another 3-4 years out of a tank that costs under $800. That's assuming there's no issues with the heat-generating components, or that you don't mind throwing money at those as well. I think it's easier to treat a WH as a disposable item, and replace at the 12-15y mark.
This information is not correct. The glass lining is not a perfect barrier between water and metal, even in a brand new heater. The tank will start corroding at the same time there isn’t enough anode to corrode (ion exchange) instead.

The anode prevents corrosion as long as it is functioning. This is just like the anode on boats that protect metal things (e.g. engines and related parts) that touch water. Keep the anode in good shape and the item that it protects is in good shape.

I wouldn’t dispose of a boat or a water heater every few years in lieu of replacing the anode.
By the way a single anode tank (6 year warranty) likely wouldn’t make it 12-15 years in corrosive water conditions without basic anode maintenance.

An anode costs $25-30 every few years and a few minutes of time. I drain the junk out of the tank at the same time.
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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 »

^^^ Interesting. This month's water bill contained a notice that Denver Water will raise the delivered water's pH from 7.8 to 8.8 (0 acidic -- 7 neutral -- 14 basic), so slightly more basic. The move is taken "...to help protect our customers from the risk of lead-containing household pipes and plumbing as part of our Lead Reduction Program. The change won't affect the water's taste or smell."

My understanding was that anode protection is an electrolysis effect. But I don't understand how WH corrosion protection and anode wear are related to the water's pH. (I am familiar with the concept that an acidic solution will eat/corrode through steel. But will a basic solution also eat/corrode through steel?)

A quick search says ocean water is ~8.2 pH (...but expected to decrease to 8.1, with increasing dissolved CO2). And anode protection is required on ocean vessels.

So, will DW's water be less/more corrosive at 8.8 pH? Will WH anodes be expected to last longer, shorter, no change?

I guess I could call DW, but would expect a PR answer that "...all is well."

Inquiring minds want to know.

My new WH is already on the calendar to have it's anode replaced at the end of its 6yr warranty period. Guess I'll know then.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
yolli71
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by yolli71 »

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.
I don't know but I was in a similar situation as you. My water heater was from 1998 and I decided to swap it out a few months ago (Dec.). I got 21 years out of it with no issues, but I didn't want to be "reactive" instead of proactive. My parents had their water heater for 26 years before it gave out and made a mess in their basement...I didn't want to deal with that.
Hogan773
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Hogan773 »

When water heaters "go out" will it start leaking and dripping relatively slowly where I have time to see a puddle of water on the floor and then I can shut it off and drain it into my sump pit? I assume it doesn't just go poof and drain 50 gallons out into the basement right?
neilpilot
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by neilpilot »

Hogan773 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:20 pm When water heaters "go out" will it start leaking and dripping relatively slowly where I have time to see a puddle of water on the floor and then I can shut it off and drain it into my sump pit? I assume it doesn't just go poof and drain 50 gallons out into the basement right?
It usually starts to leak rather than fail catastrophically.

However, if it does go "poof" don't assume the leak will stop at 50 gallons. After all, it's connected to a cold water feed line so water will continue to run at a high flow rate until you shutoff the water supply.
brianH
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by brianH »

criticalmass wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:28 am The anode prevents corrosion as long as it is functioning.
I've never seen any research supporting that claim in water heaters. My point was more that changing the anode rod isn't going to meaningfully extend the life of your water heater, assuming typical 10-15 year lifespan.

Considering most water heaters have never had, and will never have, their anode replaced, but still last their 10+ year design life, the burden of proof is on the claim that replacing the anode is beneficial.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by TomatoTomahto »

theplayer11 wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:21 pm 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
Thanks. We were just recommended a stainless steel DHW without an anode rod, and wondered about it. Didn’t get around to googling it, but plumber seems confident in the unit. He probably knows I’d forget to check the anode :D
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
Starfish
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by Starfish »

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.
The entiore point to have an sacrificial ANOD comes from the circulation of electrons and ions. Without electrical contact it does not work.

PS: ups, now I see it was already discussed. How could I underestimate this forum? :D
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 »

At my childhood home my father had a WH that had external bands around the tank to heat the water. The WH was never replaced after at least 40 years. I think it might have been from Sears.

He did have to replace the bands every now and then, but never the tank itself.

I wonder if any company even makes that style WH today. My WH is in too small an area to be able to use one with bands anyway. His was outside in a concrete slab. Mine is next to my downstairs air handler in my garage. I had a nice area built around the air handler and WH with louvered doors for access. Nice, clean look for the garage.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven then I shall not go. " -Mark Twain
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 »

brianH wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:29 pm
criticalmass wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:28 am The anode prevents corrosion as long as it is functioning.
I've never seen any research supporting that claim in water heaters. My point was more that changing the anode rod isn't going to meaningfully extend the life of your water heater, assuming typical 10-15 year lifespan.

Considering most water heaters have never had, and will never have, their anode replaced, but still last their 10+ year design life, the burden of proof is on the claim that replacing the anode is beneficial.
I disagree. A water heater with a single anode typically has a 6 year warranty. A water heater with two anodes typically has 10-12 year warranty.

The purpose of the sacrificial anode (in boats, water heaters, ships, etc) is to keep corrosion from happening and they work. There is no need to replace a heater every 12 years if you replace the anode as necessary.
lazydavid
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by lazydavid »

Well I tried. I've got a 2013 water heater that I bought a new anode for. But I couldn't get the old one out, even with a breaker bar and a rubber mallet. Luckily, I had a plumber coming over to replace my other water heater, which had failed. He couldn't get it out either, with a breaker and a cheater bar. Same for the new one--I asked him to break it loose and re-seal it to make the process easier later. He told me not to try any further, or I'd risk damaging the tank and having to replace the whole thing.

Well at least the new one has a 12-year warranty...
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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 »

^^^ "planned obsolescence" Can't blame the manufacturers for ensuring they fall. But it's upsetting.
"Oh look another bajillion point declin-Ooooh!!! A coupon for pizza!!!!" <--- This is what everyone's IPS should be. ✓✓✓
kc27
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by kc27 »

The post where lazydavid describes problems loosening the anode rod on even a new heater is concerning. I have a new water heater where I want to break the anode free now, to facilitate future anode replacement. I never changed the anode on my previous seven year old Bradford White water heater (bottom rusted out and tank leaked) because the anode was incorporated into the hot water outlet. Before I recycled that heater, I removed the anode. This is what was left after seven years.

Image
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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 »

kc27 wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 9:56 am The post where lazydavid describes problems loosening the anode rod on even a new heater is concerning. I have a new water heater where I want to break the anode free now, to facilitate future anode replacement. I never changed the anode on my previous seven year old Bradford White water heater (bottom rusted out and tank leaked) because the anode was incorporated into the hot water outlet. Before I recycled that heater, I removed the anode. This is what was left after seven years.

Image
Do you have well water?
jharkin
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by jharkin »

ArmchairArchitect wrote: Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:47 am
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.
Another PSA: Not all water heatershave, or need, anode rods.


Anode rods ARE found in your typical, inexpensive, standalone direct fired steel tank style heater.

Anode rods ARE NOT found in:
* On demand (instant) water heaters
* Indirect (boiler fired) water heater that are typically stainless steel
* Tankless coil heaters in combination heating boilers

Best to know what type you have before assuming you need an anode. Indirects and tankless coils are fairly common in the northeast where hot water radiant heat is typical, and high efficiency on demand heaters are becoming more popular in new construction.
JimMolony
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by JimMolony »

A few caveats:

Some brands build them into the cold water inlet and are not accessible or possible to replace. They are primarily made of either magnesium or aluminum. Certain water hardness of water (well or city water) react poorly to the wrong type of rod (magnesium or aluminum) causing a sulfuric smell (rotten eggs) in the hot water. As noted by someone else, sometimes on very old tanks they are impossible to shake loose and you can end up doing more damage.

More importantly to avoid harsh sediment build up in the tank, you are better off draining it twice a year (do it when you change the time clocks). Just attach a rubber hose (not the cheap vinyl based ones sold at many hardware stores) to the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater. Don't close the cold water inlet valve. Open the drain valve and drain water into driveway/sump pump for a good 20 minutes. This flushes the sediment build up at the bottom of the tank. The sediment is what kills the glass lining of the interior tank. Be very cautious if the water heater has a plastic/nylon shut off valve - I'd almost recommend not doing this if you have one.

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

Post by JimMolony »

yolli71 wrote: Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:30 pm
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.
I don't know but I was in a similar situation as you. My water heater was from 1998 and I decided to swap it out a few months ago (Dec.). I got 21 years out of it with no issues, but I didn't want to be "reactive" instead of proactive. My parents had their water heater for 26 years before it gave out and made a mess in their basement...I didn't want to deal with that.
They are generally encrypted into the serial number of the water heater. You'd need to find the brand name and call the manufacturer to get the date it came out of the factory. Usually add on another 2-4 months until gets installed at your house. Unfortunately all the manufactures use slightly different ways the encrypt.
kc27
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Re: PSA: Replace the anode rod on your water heater every few years to prolong its life.

Post by kc27 »

Do you have well water?
I have city water. I did flush the heater two or three times a year, I just never changed the anode. My particular Bradford White heater had a combination anode rod/hot water outlet nipple as shown in the photo. I replaced the heater with a different brand that has the anode separate from the heater water connections. The plumber who installed the replacement heater suggested replacing anodes was not worth the effort, to just plan on replacing the heater every six to eight years for peace of mind.
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