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An anode rod that no longer works could allow your hot water tank to rust.
Conversely, by replacing the anode rod as needed you can extend the life of your hot water tank significantly as well as reduce the chance of needing to replace your entire hot water heater.
How Does An Anode Rod Work?
An anode rod works by reducing the chance of corrosion within the tank.
Normally made of magnesium, an anode rod releases electrons as it corrodes — which then attach to tank imperfections that might rust.
For this reason, an anode rod often determines the length of the warranty on your hot water heater.
A 5-year warranty on your hot water tank may indicate that you should replace the anode rod every 4 years. Longer warranties may indicate that your hot water tank has more than one rod.
Replace The Anode Rod Yourself To Save Money
Replacing an anode rod in a hot water tank is an easy bit of maintenance for most homeowners.
- Begin the replacement process by removing the old rod: the end should be attached to the top of your tank with a 1-1/16″ nut. Sometimes the end of the anode rod is concealed underneath a decorative hood, so take a look underneath the top if you don’t immediately see the connection.
- Turn off the water to the tank and use a socket wrench on the female connection to twist off the anode rod connector. With the connection loosened, pull out the old rod. If the connector is stuck, you can use a torch to expand the top of the nut slightly and then try to twist it with the socket wrench once more.
- Installing the new anode rod is simple: just put a bit of pipe joint compound on the threads of the new rod and screw it in. Be sure to use the minimal amount of pipe joint compound required so the anode rod will corrode properly and protect your tank.
Replacing an anode rod in your hot water tank is a worthwhile investment.
Make a note of when you replaced the anode rod as well as when the new rod should be replaced. Keep in mind that replacing the anode rod does not extend your hot water tank warranty, but for many homeowners it can easily double the usable life of the tank.
I have a lot of hands-on experience in the home construction industry, with a good deal of experience in sustainable building. I’m mostly interested in home restoration and home renovations.