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Tips For Replacing A Water Heater Anode Rod

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Have you ever wondered why your water heater doesn't rust and corrode from the water that is inside the tank? That is due to the sacrificial anode rod that is inside it. This rod is designed to slowly dissolve first so that the shell of the tank doesn't corrode. However, once the rod is gone, the shell of your water heater can start corroding. That's why it helps to know these tips on how to replace an anode rod.


You'll always want to start by turning off the fuel source that powers the water heater, which is an electrical power source or gas line. You'll then close the shut-off valve to prevent more water from going into the tank. You can then open a hot water faucet in your home to relieve some pressure within the tank. Connect a hose to the bottom of the tank, and then open up the spigot to release a couple of gallons of water from the tank.

Old Rod Removal

Your anode rod is likely hidden underneath a plastic cap on top of the hot water heater. There may be insulation covering the top of the anode rod, which will need to be removed. You'll need an appropriately sized socket to loosen the old anode rod so that it can be taken out of the tank. The anode rod may need a lot of leverage to loosen it. 

When lifting the anode rod out of the tank, know that there may not be enough room to remove it. That is because the anode rod is a solid piece of metal, and a low ceiling can prevent it from being removed easily from the tank. You can use a hacksaw to cut the anode rod into sections so that it can be removed. Just make sure to not drop the anode rod into the tank, and consider using a clamp to hold the rod in place. 

New Rod Installation

The new anode rod will slide into the tank and be secured into place by screwing it in. Plumbers tape should be placed around the threads of the anode rod so that it forms a tight seal. If you have a low ceiling, you may need an anode rod that is put together in sections. You can then proceed to turn the water on to fill up the tank. If there are no leaks around the anode rod, turn on the energy source to heat up the hot water. 

If you need help replacing an anode rod, contact a water heater repair professional in your area.