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DIY Replace the Anode Rod in a Hot Water Heater

Updated on March 23, 2012
Extend the life of your hot water heater by replacing the anode rod.
Extend the life of your hot water heater by replacing the anode rod. | Source

An anode rod helps to keep your hot water heater from forming rust and degrading. Removing and replacing the anode rod every three to five years works to extend the life of the heater by many years. Many homeowners have a hot water heater installed in their house and never think about it again until there is no hot water in the house and the area around the heater is flooded. Typically, hot water heaters are thought of as maintenance free appliances, usually they are, but if you want to get more life than the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty, replace the anode rod. You will find the anode rod inside the hot water heater.

Get the hot water heater’s manufacturer’s name and model number, both of which are found on the water heater. Go to stores that sell hot water heaters and parts. Many home improvement stores sell anode rods for a variety of heaters. If you cannot find one to fit your specific brand and model, go to the manufacturer’s website or call them to order one.

Turn the water valve that supplies water to the heater to the off position. Turn off the gas supply. Turn off the electrical breaker that powers the water heater from the main electric supply box. Do not skip these steps. You can injure yourself severely if you do not disconnect all three.

Twist a garden hose or any other hose that fits the spigot to drain at least half of the existing water from the heater. Run the hose outside or into a sink, open the valve and let the water drain.

Fit a ratchet wrench around the hexagon shaped fitting at the top of the heat. Loosen the fitting and pull the anode rod out of the water heater tank. If the fitting won’t turn, spray it with WD-40, let it sit and penetrate the corrosion for a minute or two and then loosen it.

Slide the new replacement anode rod into the tank. Wrap Teflon tape around the threaded end of the rod and tighten the hexagon fitting with the wrench.

Turn the power and water back on, light the pilot.

DIY Anode Rod Replacement


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    • BrightMeadow profile image

      BrightMeadow 6 years ago from a room of one's own

      This is very useful info. Thanks for sharing.