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How Lengthy Will Your Water Heater Very last? Your Anode Rods Will Tell Us



An anode rod is a rod built of “sacrificial” steel. Like batteries, the anode produces an electrochemical reaction in the tank. The anode slowly but surely wears away rather of the lining of the tank. As very long as the anode is current and practical, just about all corrosion or rusting on the tank’s lining is prevented.


To all consumers who are shopping for a new water heater, an essential facet of the new appliance is the accessibility to its anode rod. On top rated of the water heater is a portion known as a hex head. It is both obvious or not. If it is not seen, the hex head is either situated beneath the sheet metallic top or is connected beneath the hot water outlet. You shouldn’t have to settle for a tough to locate anode rod. I advise not acquiring this water heater. Search for a water heater with an quickly located hex head.

In the circumstance of commercial water heaters, the outer sheet metallic major of the water heater ought to normally be removed for entry to the anode rod. The hex head is almost never identified uncovered, irrespective of whether it is an electric or gas heaters. As you eliminate the top to the heater, mark the best of the heater itself so that assembling it collectively later on will be easier. At this stage the hex head for the anode rod can be located very easily on any commercial electric heater. On gas heaters, the hex head will almost certainly be effortless to uncover if it has a one flue vent. If it has much more than a person flue vent, it may will be far more tough to track down.


An anode is designed out of aluminum, zinc, or magnesium. It is shaped all over a wire jogging down the heart of the rod. Tricky water regions of the country often have water heaters with aluminum rods set up simply because aluminum is the ideal material for challenging water situations. If your anode rod has deteriorated down to the wire or is long gone wholly, this is generally a signal of challenging water. Be mindful of aluminum anode rods, on the other hand. Science believes that there is a link between aluminum in the diet program and Alzheimer’s disease. Do not drink or prepare dinner with hot water from a tank which employs an anode rod built out of aluminum. To establish if you have an aluminum anode rod, eliminate it, then bend it. If it bends quickly in your arms, it is likely created out of aluminum.

Blend Anode

Generally anodes are put in with 3/4 in. hex heads screwed in the prime of the tank. However, a combination anode is attached to the hot water outlet pipe nipple, also screwed in at the top. All water heaters have a least of just one anode rod. Some water heaters have extended warranties for the reason that they have two anode rods. If there are two anode rods, that is because 1 is connected to a hex head at the prime and the other is a combination anode hooked up to the hot water outlet. Some residential heaters have two hex headed anode rods and no combination anodes even though.
To uncover out if you have a mix anode rod, disconnect the hot water outlet at the top rated of the heater utilizing a pipe wrench. Will not ignore to shut off the water initial! Future poke a stiff wire down the gap wherever the hot water nipple was. If it stops about 3 to 6 inches right down, then you have located the blend anode. If the wire satisfies practically nothing within, the anode is someplace else. The blend anode can be taken out with a pipe wrench.

If you do not have a mix anode and you want to set up a single, then remove the hot water pipe nipple and change it with a mix anode rod. The nipple on the anode rode will require to be extended than the thickness of the insulation on major of the heater, which is normally 2 to 6 inches.


Magnesium is used additional typically than the other metals for anodes. When the water in your location is not specifically really hard, use of magnesium rods is possibly very best. Be very careful with magnesium rods, nonetheless, when changing them in an previously corroded tank. The electrochemical response from the new magnesium anode can lead to hydrogen gas to develop up in the tank. This can direct to water leaks.


New water heaters rarely have a zinc rod by now put in. Zinc rods are actually aluminum rods with a 1/10 part of the rod becoming precise zinc. Zinc’s only goal in an anode rod is to cut down the scent of sulfur in the water.

Usage of Anodes

Softening really hard water with salt is really more harming to anodes than the calcium carbonate–the trigger of tough water. Salt can consume an anode up to a few situations quicker than normal. Phosphates can have the same adverse affect on an anode. The anode should really be inspected every two a long time or faster if you use these water softening brokers.

The anode is the reason the heater stays functional for a long time or even decades. Anodes corrode predictably. Most times it corrodes at the prime or base and exposes the metal wire beneath.
Main Wire

The water heater will only be protected if the anode rod has more than enough metallic hanging on it. The steel core wire keeps the sacrificial metallic on the anode. Be confident to inspect the anode for an exposed core wire each and every two yrs at the very least.

When analyzing an anode rod for uncovered core wire, the wire can be protected in calcium carbonate that brushes off very easily. This calcium carbonate is not corroded metallic from the anode rod, so do not fret about taking away it.

Anode Evaluation

If the anode rod has extra sacrificial metallic than exposed metal rod, then it is still in fantastic form. However, if the overall surface area will become lined in calcium carbonate and this calcium carbonate gets to be really hard, this will protect against the anode from guarding the tank any longer. This is identified as passivation. If the anode has passivated, it will not search so by sight by itself. To check for passivation, you ought to bend the anode rod by hand. At the bend, observe for modest quantities of flaking. The anode should really be replaced if extra areas of the rod are exposed wire than sacrificial steel. It should also be changed if the top rated or bottom of the rod has deteriorated, exposing 6 or a lot more inches of exposed wire. An anode must also be replaced if the anode is significantly less than 50 percent of the rod’s 3/4 in. diameter size. If the anode has passivated, split through its size, or has develop into closely pitted, it could also be time for alternative. When all the sacrificial metal has worn away, then the steel rod will start to wear absent. Immediately after the steel rod wears absent, the only detail remaining will be the hex head or the hot water outlet nipple if it is a blend anode. At this position, the tank will start to corrode. If the anode is identified in the over stated disorders, damage to the tank may perhaps have currently happened.

Hidden Hex Head On Newer Products

Hex heads are threaded watertight plugs about 3/4 inches in diameter. They are attached to anode rods at the leading of water heaters. Some are quickly found from the leading of the water heater. Other moments it will be below fiberglass or under a piece of plastic. To find the hex head, drill a shallow 1/4 inch gap by the plastic top rated of the water heater. Do not drill deep into the tank alone. Use a long flat-head screwdriver to probe beneath the top of the water heater to discover the hex head. On gas heaters, the hex head will be the exact same distance from the flue as the sizzling and cold strains are. On electrics, the anode will be off center so as not to fall on the heating aspects. A number of holes may possibly have to have to be dug in buy to find the hex head. After the hex head is found, it should really be permanently exposed. Use a hole saw able of reducing plastic or steel to carve a gap massive more than enough to allow for upcoming entry to the hex head. Use two folks at this issue to unscrew the hex head–one to continual the tank, the other to use a breaker bar and a socket that suits the head. Any where from 3/4 inch to 1-1/16 inch.

In the upcoming, when getting a new water heater, acquire only individuals with currently uncovered hex heads.

Hidden Hex Head On More mature Versions

To come across the hex head on older water heaters, only unscrew the screws keeping the major in location, mark the placement of the leading and the water heater with a marker, then clear away the best to find the hex head. Alas, many heaters observed in today’s structures have foamed-in tops and are unable to be eradicated. Once again, if the hex head is not uncovered at the time of obtain, will not obtain that distinct tank. Glance for a tank with an presently exposed hex head.

Anode Inspection

Anodes need to be inspected at least each individual two many years exactly where softened water is made use of but at the very least just about every 4 decades below typical water circumstances. On situation, the site of the anode is truly written on the water heater instructions.

Anode Installation

To get rid of the old rod, pull it as considerably out as doable, bend it, then pull it the rest of the way out. To install the new a person, bend the rod straight in the middle, insert it 50 percent way, straighten it versus the opening, and install it the rest of the way. Screw in the anode rod at this time. If you are unable to screw it into position mainly because it is too bent, pull it partly out and use the opening to straighten it further more. If there is not sufficient ceiling area to install the new anode rod, look at a link-anode. These anodes have lots of compact back links hooked with each other and glimpse related to links of sausages. You can also check out zinc anodes mainly because they bend significantly a lot easier than magnesium ones. A different way to install an anode is to drain the water heater and tip it more than adequate to allow for uncomplicated obtain for the anode.


Anodes are ordinarily 3 feet 8 inches. Anodes should be only a few inches shorter than the tank itself. Get anodes that are a minor much too prolonged alternatively of a minor too short. This way you can cut the anode shorter if it is way too tall.

Impressed-Current Rod

In relation to commercial water heaters, there are amazed current rods. These rods do not self-crank out currents like sacrificial anodes. They derive electricity from an electrical ability supply. Many commercial heaters give the locale of the impressed-existing rod. They do not will need to be changed during their lifetime. They might want periodic cleaning. Merely wipe them off with a towel. If rust appears within a water heater with an amazed-present-day rod, you should really both contact the company, simply call a plumber, or put in sacrificial anodes.

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