An anode rod is an integral part of a water heater. The main aim of the water heater anode is to prevent the corrosion of the metal lining of a water heater. What really happens is that over a period of time, the anode rod will be corroded instead of the metal lining and this will increase the life of the heater. The anode rod also produces an electro chemical reaction when it comes into contact with water and this helps in protecting the water heater from internal damage.
Most water heater anode rods are not more than 3 feet-8 inches in length and have to be replaced after a certain period of time. But before you go ahead and purchase an anode rod for replacement, you need to know that there are three types of rods available. The Aluminum rod is known to be the best for hard water conditions although the most common type of anode rods used are the magnesium rods. The third type of anode rod is a mix of zinc and aluminum in 1:10 ratio.
You can replace the anode rod at home although it might not seem like the easiest of processes.
How to Install a Water Heater Anode
Once you have decided upon what water heater anode rod to buy, purchase two of them. One rod can be a backup if anything went wrong.
Step#1: The first step is to turn the water off. This can be done in two stages. In the first stage, turn the water heater off by turning off the main circuit breaker or by turning off the gas valve. The next stage is to drain the valve. Get a hose and connect it to the drain valve of your water heater and run the hot water (if there is any in the heater) to a drain or into a bucket. You need to hold the hose with a downhill gradient so that the water flows out due to gravity. Alternatively, you can use a transfer pump to pump the water out.
Step#2: Once the water is drained out, you need to shut off the cold water. Then turn on one of the hot water taps in your house. Now close the tap and turn on a faucet. Ensure that every drop of water is completely drained out before you can start with the anode replacement process.
Step#3: Now that the heater is empty, you are ready to replace the water heater anode. Now comes the important part – you will need to check where the anode is within the tank? Some of the water heaters will have the anode close to the outlet. In such a scenario you will need to disconnect the pipe so that you can reach the outlet nipple connection.
Step#4: Once you have successfully removed the pipe, take off the outlet nipple using a standard wrench.
Step#5: Now slowly and cautiously take off the old water heater anode and replace it with the new anode.
Step#6: You will have to seal the outlet nipple using teflon tape on the threads.
Note: If the water heater anode is plugged in as in some cases, then you will require an impact wrench to release it so that it can prevent spinning. Ensure that you don’t use excessive force as this can break the anode and you wouldn’t want pieces of melted anode lying at the base of the water heater tank.
Step#7: When you are replacing the anode or when you are inserting the new anode, ensure that it is inserted straight down. This needs to be done cautiously and gradually so that the water heater anode is not damaged.
Once the new water heater anode has been installed, reopen the cold water valve and wait till the tank fills up. Simultaneously open the hot water faucet so that once you see water flowing out, you will know the tank is full. It is also recommended that you check the entire system for any leaks before closing it down. If the new water heater anode is working correctly then you will get hot water instantly. Now the water heater is ready for active use again!
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