Tips on How to Check the Anode Rod in Your Water Heater

Written by Water Heaters

Anode rod replacement

The anode rod is probably the most important part in your water heater. In fact, it’s one of the main factors in determining how long the unit will last. This anode rod protects the steel on the inside of your tank from rust by a method known as electrolysis. Through this process, the anode rod will sacrifice itself by becoming corroding instead of the metal lining on the inside of your water heater tank.


It’s important that you check your anode rod on a regular basis. When you notice that the rod has been corroded from the top to the bottom, it’s no longer offering any sort of protection and will to be replaced as soon as possible.

There are three kinds of anode rods. They include aluminum, magnesium and zinc. If your home pumps out hard water, then aluminum is the best choice. On the other hand, Magnesium is better suited for softer water, and Zinc pipes are made of aluminum with a minor bit of zinc added to it. The zinc is added to battle against any sulfur odors coming from the water.


Steps to replacing the anode rod in your water heater

Like mentioned above, when your water heater needs an anode rod replacement, you’ll know, because it will be completely corroded. When a replacement is in order, make use of the following steps:

1. Before you start, it’s important that you make sure you shut off the water in addition to your home’s circuit breaker or the thermostat on your home’s gas models.

2. Identify the anode rods located on the top portion of your unit. Many hot water heaters have the anode rode positioned on the top of the unit and connected to the hot water line. If you have a user’s manual, it’s best to consult the diagrams in it.

3. Your next step is to drain the water from your water heater tank. The easiest way to do this is by connecting your garden home directly to the water outlet line. This is usually located on top of the water heater. When draining your tank, keep in mind that you only have to drain the tank just below where the anode rod is positioned. It’s also important that you open the water heater’s drain valve and hot water valve as well. This will allow the tank to drain at a much faster rate.

4. Use a boxed end wrench or a socket to remove the anode rod. You may have to twist, bend or even cut this rod to get it out.

5. Install the new anode rod into your water heater using either the same wrench or a socket you used to get it off.

6. Turn back on the power as well as your home’s water power.

When removing and installing the new anode rod, it’s best to consult the owner’s manual to ensure you get the anode rod on correctly


Kevin L. Sharp

Kevin L. Sharp

He began his career in plumbing at the age of 14 while still in high school. Kevin Sharp has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Illinois State University.
Kevin L. Sharp

Last modified: September 12, 2017

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