What Is Anode Rod In Water Heater

Everything you Need to Know About a Water Heater Anode Rod

The 13th of December, 2019. What is the purpose of a water heater anode rod? An anode rod is a temporary steel core wire that is surrounded with magnesium, aluminum, or zinc to provide corrosion resistance. It is only designed to be in use for a limited amount of time before being replaced with something else. Alternatively, if you already have an anode rod, it is critical that you suction it out in order to avoid future issues. An anode rod is a piece of metal that is used to protect the metal liner inside of your water heater tank against corrosion and explosion over time.

  • Anode rods are often made of metals such as magnesium, aluminum, or zinc
  • However, they can also be made of other materials. It is predicted that magnesium anode rods will perform better in a residence with soft water. Aluminum anodes are recommended for use in houses with hard water and a high PH level. Zinc anodes are the most effective when a home is beginning to smell like rotten eggs, and they are also the most effective when replacing water heaters that have disintegrated.

A good rule of thumb is to check an anode rod once a year. Before we get started, an anode rod’s lifespan is determined by a variety of circumstances, including whether you have hard or soft water. However, you should call Nebrasky every two to five years to check on the state of the rod and determine whether it’s time to replace it before the rod dissolves. The anode rods in a water heater are one of the most crucial equipment in a household. Inadequate inspection and/or replacement of one can result in a serious problem.

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Why Are Anode Rods Important?

Because it prevents corrosion in your heater’s storage tank, the anode rod can help you get more use out of your typical hot water heater. Get quotations from as many as three professionals! Enter your zip code below to get matched with top-rated professionals in your area. It is one of the most important components of a conventional hot water heater since it is responsible for preventing tank corrosion and rusting. However, the life expectancy of your anode rod is frequently significantly lower than the life expectancy of the hot water heater itself.

What Is an Anode Rod?

It is a significant component of your water heater that runs along the middle of your tank and serves as a conductor of electricity. An aluminum, aluminum/zinc alloy, or magnesium wire is wrapped around a steel wire to form a ring. These products assist to keep your water heater from corroding in the first place.

What Does the Anode Rod Do?

There’s no denying that the climate inside your water heater tank is quite harsh. There’s a body of water. There’s a lot of heat. There is a metal storage tank on the premises. Furthermore, those are the ideal circumstances for rust and corrosion to occur. The anode rod serves to counteract these situations, so extending the life and performance of your water heater and lowering its operating costs. In reality, its role is to wear itself down in order to keep the tank in good condition. Because of the erosion of the rod, electrons are released into the water heater tank, which helps to delay or prevent corrosion within the tank.

As a result, the anode rod usually fails first, followed by the water heater afterwards. In fact, plumbers refer to the anode rod as “the sacrificial lamb” of your hot water heater because of its role in reducing corrosion.

Why Are Anode Rods Important?

The performance of your water heater is dependent on the anode rods. For starters, they prevent your water heater from corrosion by drawing potentially harmful particles such as minerals and silt to themselves. However, by assisting you in keeping your water heater in good working order, they may help it last longer. As a result of the vulnerability of water heaters to corrosion, it is critical to examine your anode rod on a frequent basis.

How Often Should the Anode Rod Be Replaced?

Several factors can influence how long your anode rod lasts, including how much hot water your household consumes, what sort of water you have, how hot the water is, how well the system is maintained, and what type of anode rod is installed. The chemistry of your water will have a particularly large impact on the length of time the rod is effective. For example, the more acidic your water is, the more quickly the rod is prone to corrode. The material from which your rod is produced also has an impact on how long it will survive.

It is thus recommended that you avoid magnesium if you have hard water or high amounts of calcium and magnesium or other dissolved minerals in your water.

Checking and Replacing Anode Rods

It is recommended that you flush and drain your water heater at least once or twice a year. This will not only prevent the tank from corrosion, but it will also slow the rusting and corrosion of your anode rod and other metal components. In addition, you should physically monitor your anode rod and the hot water itself on a regular basis. You may discover evidence of tank erosion by collecting hot and cold water samples in a transparent glass and comparing the two forsigns of rust and sediment, which can help you notice signs that your tank may be beginning to erode.

The removal of the rod, however, is not something that most people should do on their own since it takes certain instruments that the majority of people do not have.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Anode Rod?

Although it may seem expensive at first glance, according to HomeAdvisor, a replacement rod usually only costs $20 to $50, and hiring a professional to complete this very simple operation would cost between $50 and $150 per hour. The cost of replacing a water heater may range from $800 at the low end to more than $1,500 at the high end, according to HomeAdvisor, and is dependent on the state of your plumbing and the model of water heater you go for.

The Takeaway

This underappreciated component of the typical hot water heater performs a critical function. In addition, keeping a careful check on your anode rod and replacing it as soon as it begins to break is essential for safeguarding your tank and extending the life and performance of your hot water heater.

3 Types of Water Heater Anode Rod Issues & Steps to Fix

It is common to overlook the various components and parts of a water heater. However, it is critical to be familiar with the components of your water heater in order to be able to respond quickly when problems arise. The anode rod is one of the most vital components of a water heater, and it is one of the most expensive.

The purpose of an anode rod has been outlined in order to assist you in diagnosing problems with your water heater. Additionally, we have developed a list of three different sorts of anode rod concerns, as well as the actions you will need to do in order to replace a deteriorating rod.

What Is An Anode Rod and How Does It Work?

An anode rod is a steel wire that is surrounded with a layer of zinc, aluminum, or magnesium to provide corrosion resistance. In most cases, it’s roughly 4 feet in length. It is fastened into the top of a water heater and serves to prevent rust from forming in the water tank. This is accomplished by the use of an electrolysis technique. The anode rod is intended to be immersed in water in order to draw rust and other impurities to the electrode. Because this component draws pollutants in the water, it will help to prevent and slow down the degradation of the inner steel walls of the water storage tank.

Ordinary Problems With Anode RodsTips

Anode rods are expected to last between three and five years, however the length of time they endure is highly dependent on the quality of your water and how much water passes through the water heater. Different factors might contribute to their inability to work properly. Three sorts of difficulties can develop with anode rods, as listed below.


The most typical sort of issue that arises with an anode rod in a hot water heater is degradation of the rod. In contrast, deterioration and corrosion of the rod indicate that it is performing its function, which is why this is the most frequently seen problem. If the steel wire that makes up the rod’s core is visible, it may be time to replace the rod altogether. Anode rod corrosion begins at the top or bottom of the rod and progresses down to the core of the rod over time. If the degeneration is greater than 6 inches in length, it is time to replace it with a new one.

Soft Water With High Mineral Concentration

Water softener systems add softening chemicals to water, such as phosphates and rock salt, to make it more drinkable. Despite the fact that soft water may be favored by some, it can actually cause the anode rod in the water heater to corrode three times as quickly as hard water. It can even corrode the steel wire core of the tank, which can result in damage to the tank’s hex head as well as the tank’s internal structure. If the anode rod has shrunk to more than 120% of its original diameter, it is necessary to replace it.

Collection of Calcium Carbonate

A calcium carbonate deposit on the outside of an anode rod in a water heater is not out of the ordinary in this situation. The presence of these white minerals prevents the rod from corroding. While this may be advantageous in other circumstances, the anode rod’s primary function is to corrode in order to keep the water tank safe. You may easily remove the calcium carbonate by wiping it away with a cloth.

How To Replace A Deteriorated Anode Rod

Before you do anything, you must turn off the electricity and water. If you have a gas-powered water heater, you may switch off the circuit breaker or the thermostat to save energy.

Using the valve on the cold water supply line, turn off the water to the house. You can also turn off the water supply at the meter itself. Water meters are normally positioned outside your home and have a gray or brown cover on top of them to identify them.

2.) Locate the Anode Rod

As previously stated, the anode rod for your water heater is located at the top of your water heater. If you are having difficulties locating it, consult the owner’s handbook for your water heater to find out where it is. Alternatively, you may search up the model number of your water heater on the internet and view a schematic of the appliance. Tips and Insights: The Most Telling Signs When Should You Repair or Replace Your Central Air Conditioning System?

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3.) Drain the Water From the Hot Water Tank

The water heater’s tank has a drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Connect a garden shed to this outlet and extend it outdoors or near a drain to make it more functional. Fill the tank with water until it holds roughly 10% of its capacity. Depending on whether your tank’s anode rod is on the side or the bottom, you may need to remove more water. Make sure the drain valve is open, as well as the hot water valve, in order to do this properly. A large number of people choose to drain the entire tank.

4.) Disassemble the Anode Rod

To remove the anode rod from the hot water heater, use a boxed end wrench or a socket with the boxed end. Tightening the anode rod before attempting to release it might aid in breaking it loose and making the removal process more straightforward. Use of penetrating fluids should be avoided since they have the potential to enter your water heater and pollute the water. To determine whether or not your water heater’s anode rod is still in excellent condition, pay close attention to what occurs when you attempt to remove it from the water heater.

If it has entirely rusted away, it will be possible to be removed from the water heater without difficulty.

5.) Purchase and Install the New Rod

Purchase a replacement anode rod from your local hardware shop. Purchasing an aluminum rod rather than a magnesium rod may extend the life of your heater since metal generates a greater current. If you’re installing the rod by hand, insert it and spin it clockwise until it can’t be twisted any further. After that, using a socket wrench, tighten it even further. Make certain that the water heater does not spin or twist when you are performing this procedure.

6.) Activate the Water Heater

Ensure that the drain valve has been closed and that the cold water supply has been turned on if it has not yet. Pour hot water into the tank using the same hot water valve you used to drain it originally, allowing it to flow until all air has been removed from the tank. As air exits via the faucet, it will generate spitting and hissing noises. Set the thermostat to the appropriate water temperature after re-igniting the power or gas supply.

Water Heater RepairInstallation Services

Virginia residents can rely on Snell HeatingAir Conditioning to offer them with prompt and dependable water heater repair and maintenance services. Additionally, we provide other sorts of emergency plumbing services, such as sump pump installation and gas line repair, if needed. From routine maintenance to installation and replacement, you can rely on our team of plumbers in Alexandria, VA to restore the proper flow of warm water throughout your home or business.

Give our experts a call at (703) 543-9649 if you are experiencing water heater difficulties. Tips Consider these suggestions for keeping your home cool in the summer.

What is an Anode Rod & What Happens When it Goes Bad?

Something you may not be familiar with is the Anode Rod, which is critical to the longevity of your electric water heater. Unsightly discolored water, a rotten egg stench, air in the pipes, and sporadic hot water are all symptoms of a faulty anode rod. The anode rod in electric water heaters is responsible for protecting the tank. The smell of rotting eggs and the absence of heatstrange noises are indications that it should be replaced. A critical role is played by the anode rod in the operation of electric water heater tank type systems.

What is an Anode Rod

What exactly is an anode rod? Exactly what happens when things goes wrong? The anode is a metal rod that is installed into the interior of the water heater. The rod serves to safeguard the tank’s steel walls by drawing minerals and silt to the tank’s interior. Magnesium or aluminum anode rods are used in the construction of the anode. Magnesium is particularly useful because it has the capacity to give electrons more easily than aluminum anodes, which makes it more efficient. The rod is responsible for removing silt from the tank.

Because it pulls out sediment, the anode rod helps to extend the life of your tank by reducing the amount of time it has to eat away at it.

Anodes and Water Quality

The stench of rotting eggs is a solid indicator that your water quality is interfering with the anode’s effectiveness. The sulfur level in the water is the source of the foul odor. Because of this, the anode will degrade and the lifespan of your water heater will be reduced. Well water that has been contaminated with sulfur is quite prevalent. Other variables that affect anode function include the overuse of water softeners, calcium and lime buildup, and the presence of non-harmful sulfur-eating bacteria.

Recommendations for Servicing your Water Heater

Air in the lines, a strong “rotten egg” smell, or discoloration in the water are all indications that your water heater needs to be serviced. In addition, you may hear what sounds like air, and the machine may only operate occasionally. Due to the holes that are being generated in the rod as the mineral content eats away at the rod, this occurs. If this occurs, it is a solid sign that your plumber should replace the anode rod with a new one. Additionally, monitoring the pH level of your water will aid in the prevention of anode corrosion.

Regular flushing of your water heater will almost surely extend the life of your equipment as well as its efficiency.


How to Check Your Anode Rod

The horror stories about water heaters becoming pressurized rockets that burst through the top of the house or about families going on vacation and returning home to find the water heater has ruptured and flooded their home are well-known to all of us. These are heartbreaking tales of misfortune that capture the imagination of every householder for a variety of reasons. Two reasons: first, although unusual, the stories about water heater failures are accurate; second, water heater failures may cost thousands to tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and, in some cases, irrevocable damage.

Fortunately, there are several things you can do to minimize the likelihood of such calamities occurring. If you are frequently monitoring and maintaining your system, you can keep an eye out for problems and, in some cases, avert system failures altogether. We are all aware of what occurs.

  1. If you have an electric water heater, turn off the power at the breaker. If you have a gas water heater, turn off the gas valve and check sure the pilot light is out before continuing. Alternatively, turn off the cold water input valve or the main water supply. Turn on the hot water faucet at a convenient location around the house. It is possible that no water may flow out of the faucet
  2. This is just intended to release pressure within the water heater tank.

First and foremost, you’ll need to connect a garden hose to the faucet located at the bottom of the water heater and turn it on. Make certain that the hose is directed to a drain and that you are aware that the water that will be released will be extremely hot. Open the faucet and drain a little amount of water to release some of the pressure and heat that has built up inside the tank before removing the anode rod from the tank. Next, locate a hex head bolt towards the top of your water heater and tighten it down.

If the anode rod is integrated into the system, inspecting or replacing it will necessitate the services of a certified plumbing professional.

Author: Amber Smith-JohnsonCopyright © 2019 by Any Hour Services

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Extend the Life of Your Water Heater by Replacing the Anode Rod

Mr. Fix-It-Up-For-The-Family Replacing the anode rod in a water heater before it breaks may considerably increase the life of the water heater, sometimes even doubling it, by slowing down corrosion inside the tank and increasing the temperature of the water.

Remove the old anode rod

Short bursts from your impact wrench are all that is needed to loosen the hex head. Once it’s free, you may unscrew it by hand.

Photo 2: Install the new water heater anode rod

Pipe dope should be applied to the threads before inserting the new rod into the tank. Tighten with a socket and ratchet by hand to get the desired tension. The majority of water heater tanks are made of steel with a thin layer of glass on the inside to prevent corrosion. Because the lining ultimately fractures, tanks have a second line of defense against rust: a long metal rod known as a “anode rod,” which attracts corrosive substances in the water and draws them into the tank. When the rod itself becomes so corroded that it is no longer able to perform its function, the tank rusts out, leaks, and eventually needs to be replaced.

Magnesium, aluminum, and aluminum/zinc alloy are the materials used to make rods.

Tips for buying an anode rod

Anode rods are intended to attract corrosive elements in the water, so reducing corrosion in the steel liner, which is particularly prone to corrosion.

  • Anode rods made of magnesium are more effective at protecting your tank, but they do not last as long as rods made of aluminum or zinc. Anode rods made of aluminum or zinc are less expensive and are advised if your water smells. However, before making the conversion to an aluminum rod, contact with a water treatment professional.

Required Tools for this Project

Make a list of all of the equipment you’ll need for this DIY project before you begin; you’ll save both time and frustration this way.

Required Materials for this Project

Preparing all of your stuff ahead of time can save you time and money on last-minute buying visits. Here’s a list of things to do.

Water Heater Anode Rod

It is the anode rod that is the most critical aspect in deciding the lifespan of your water heater. An anode rod is made up of a steel core wire that is surrounded by one of three distinct types of metals. Aluminum, magnesium, and zinc are among the metals in this category. In addition to protecting your water heater from rusting, the rod is also useful for other purposes. In order to protect the exposed steel of the water heater’s tank, the anode rod sacrifices itself by using a process known as electrolysis when the tank is fully filled with water.

This process causes the anode rod of your water heater to corrode in stead of the exposed steel in the heater. During this process, the more noble (less reactive) metal will corrode over the less noble (more reactive) metal.

Anode Rod Problems

The anode rod is intended to corrode in place of the water heater liner; however, once the rod has been entirely corroded, it no longer serves its intended purpose of protecting the water heater. The lifespan of a standard anode rod is around 4-5 years, although this is dependent on the quantity of water that passes through your water heater. A water softener also has the additional effect of dramatically shortening the life of your anode rods. A depleted anode rod has the potential to and does create difficulties with your water heater.

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A rusted water heater will almost certainly require replacement, which will be far more expensive than simply replacing the anode rods.

Different Types of Anode Rods

Aluminum Anode rods made of aluminum are the best choice for areas with hard water. The aluminum rod will be more resistant to hard water than any other sort of rod. Aluminum has been linked to health problems, thus it is recommended that you avoid drinking hot water and that you run some cold water through the faucet spout before consuming the water. Keep in mind that our drinks are also available in aluminum cans. Magnesium Among the several types of anode rods, magnesium anode rods are the most frequent.

It just takes a handful of years at the most for them to degrade when exposed to harsh water.

Zinc Zinc anode rods are actually just aluminum anode rods that have been coated with zinc.

What Is A Sacrificial Anode Rod And Why Is It In My Water Heater?

The information contained in this article is provided solely for the purpose of providing general information and does not constitute professional advice. With respect to this material, LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action. LANDMARK HOME WARRANTY makes no claim to be an expert in the subject matter, and you should conduct your own research and/or seek the advice of appropriately qualified professionals with respect to your specific circumstances before taking action.

Consider the following scenario: The basic job of your water heater is to heat water, and this is what it is best at.

What Does an Anode Rod Do in a Water Heater?

The 26th of January, 2017 Every three years or so, you should replace the anode rod in your water heater, which is a critical component of the system. Although there are a variety of materials and components utilized in contemporary water heaters, the anode rod is perhaps the most significant of them all. The interior components of water heaters would wear out much more quickly if this item were not present. Anode rods, on the other hand, must be replaced on a regular basis since they wear out much more quickly than the water heater’s lifespan.

If you have a normal tank-style heater (as opposed to a tankless kind), you should inspect the rod on a regular basis and replace it if required. Here’s some more information on what an anode rod does and how it works.

Protecting Your Water Heater

Water heaters are subject to rust and corrosion as a result of the materials used in their construction as well as the way in which these materials react when exposed to moisture. When water comes into touch with oxygen or moisture, the steel used to construct the tanks corrodes and rusts, causing the tanks to corrode and rust further. Although the heating element may make your water lovely and hot, the heat also has the effect of speeding up the corrosion process. The anode rod is a component of a water heater that is meant to slow down corrosion and rusting.

Water corrodes the magnesium and causes it to release electrons into the tank.

Evaluating the Anode Rod

The temperature of the water in the tank, the amount of water utilized, the quality of the water heater, and the composition (hardness vs. softness) of the water can all influence the service life of an anode rod. The rod, as well as the entire water heater system, will last longer if you keep up with your monthly water heater maintenance appointments. Once a year, have your tank cleansed to eliminate any sediment that has accumulated. The anode rod should be replaced every three years, however due to the location of the rod on the tank, this is a tough task to perform on your own.

Helping Keep Your Water Heaters in Great Shape

For more information on how Master Plumbing’s skilled plumbers can assist you with your leaking water heater (or just about anything else plumbing related! ), call (301) 650-9100 or send us an online message. Since 2007, we have won the Angie’s List Super Service Award for plumbing and drain cleaning on a yearly basis, in addition to the Best Plumber award from Best of Bethesda for the past two years. We are completely licensed, bonded, and insured, and our service is second to none in the industry.

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Water Heater Anode Rods: What it is & How to Replace it

In a water heating system, it is an absolutely necessary component. Not only does it help to maintain the storage tank working smoothly, but it also helps to considerably extend the life of the tank itself! Replace the anode rod in your water heater approximately every three years as part of your water heater’s routine maintenance. Many individuals are completely unfamiliar with the concept of an anode rod, let alone the fact that they need to replace one. You might be asking yourself right now, ‘what exactly is a water heater anode rod?’ An anode rod is a wire with a sacrificial steel core that has been wrapped with aluminum, magnesium, or zinc to protect it against corrosion.

In order to preserve the tank liner and minimize the danger of an explosion, anode rods attract corrosive particles located inside your water heater tank. This protects the tank liner and reduces the chance of an explosion. Anode rods should be changed every three to five years.

Are Water Heater Anode Rod Sizes Universal?

Anode rods are not used in all situations. Anode rods are available in a variety of lengths and materials. Some anode rods are positioned at the top of the water heater tank, whilst others are linked to the hot water outlet on the water heater tank. The diameter of anode rods for domestic water heaters is universally 3/4 inch in diameter. The length and kind of the anode rod, on the other hand, may not be the same. Some anode rods are fastened to the water heater’s top, while others are connected to the water heater’s hot-water output.

In the case of a smaller water heater (often referred to as a ‘low boy’ or’stubby’) that is just 30 or 40 inches tall, you may need to trim it down to fit the space.

What are the Different Types of Anode Rods?

There are five different types of anode rods. However, an anode rod made of aluminum, magnesium, or zinc will be found in the vast majority of water heaters. Let’s take a look at each of them individually:

Magnesium Anode Rods

When it comes to home water heating units, magnesium anode rods are the most commonly encountered form of anode rod. Because magnesium rods can corrode fast in hard water, it is not suggested that they be used in houses with hard water. This will reduce the efficiency of the anode rod to nearly nothing in a short period of time. Especially if you reside in a hard water area and your water heater is equipped with a magnesium anode rod, you should inspect the lining of your water heater to ensure it is not rusted.

It has the potential to create an electrochemical reaction that results in the production of hydrogen gas within the tank, resulting in water leaks through the tank wall.

Aluminum Anode Rods

Aluminum anode rods were more typically seen in earlier water heaters than steel anode rods. Their widespread usage has been curtailed due to the potential of metal poisoning in the hot tap water supply that they pose. Aluminum anode rods are the least expensive and most long-lasting form of anode rod currently on the market. Because aluminum anode rods are extremely flexible, it is easy to distinguish them from other materials. It is possible that homes with hard or severe water problems may require the use of aluminum rods since metal rods corrode relatively slowly, resulting in increased tank protection.

Zinc Anode Rods

It is possible to find anode rods made of both zinc and aluminum in this category. There are one component zinc and ten parts aluminum in the composition of this alloy. It is not included as standard on most water heaters, but is a fantastic upgrade option, especially if you have hard water and notice that your water heater is emitting a sulfurous “rotten egg” stench.

Apart from providing long-lasting protection for your tank, it also helps to reduce the growth of bacteria, which can give that unpleasant rotten egg or sulfur smell.

Combination Anode Rods

As the name implies, the combination anode rod is a standard anode rod that is connected to the hot water output. Because it is difficult to access and service, most water heaters do not have this configuration. As mentioned above, the combination anode is located inside the pipe, making it difficult to reach. It is frequently necessary to break the pip in order to reach and remove it for replacement.

Powered Anode Rods

Electrical pulses are used to remove corrosive electrons from the water within the tank and prevent them from connecting to the inner lining, which would eventually cause the tank to rust from the inside out, resulting in a leakage. It is not necessary to replace powered anode rods since they do not serve a sacrificial purpose. They do, however, require some frequent cleaning in order to keep their electrical charge. When you buy a household water heater, you will not find these anode rods in the unit.

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Powered anode rods are very effective for reducing the stench of foul-smelling water.

Corro-Protec is our top recommendation for the best-powered anode rod available on the market today.

Powered vs Sacrificial Anode Rod – Which is Better?

A motorized anode rod is definitely worth the investment, especially if your water heater is relatively new and the inner lining of the tank is still in good shape. However, I do not suggest them for water heaters that are more than a decade old. If the anode rod in your water heater has never been replaced, it is possible that the inner lining has already begun to deteriorate. Anode rods must be changed every 3-5 years depending on usage (less if you have very hard water). If your water heater is more than 5 years old and you inspect the anode rod and discover that it is entirely corroded, it is likely that you will be better off replacing it.

What are the Different Sizes of Anode Rods?

The anode rods for magnesium are straight. They are normally around 33 inches long and have a 34-inch diameter on average. Aluminum anode rods are also around 33 inches in length and have a diameter of 34 inches. They have the ability to flex at the two joint regions, which makes them more adaptive. Aside from being straight and a little longer than magnesium rods, zinc anode rods are also a little longer than magnesium rods, measuring around 44 inches in length with a diameter of 34 inches. Unlike pure aluminum rods, they can be easily chopped to accommodate different size heaters and dissolve more thoroughly than the former.

Can You Cut an Anode Rod?

Yes, you may custom cut an anode rod to meet your exact water heating unit’s specifications. The only tools you’ll need are a hacksaw and a file for smoothing out the cut edges.

Instead of cutting the anode rod, you might consider utilizing a flexible anode rod or just bending it. There will be no need to cut a powered anode rod in this case. These may be ordered in three different lengths to accommodate the size of your water heater.

How to Cut an Anode Rod?

If you have an anode rod that doesn’t quite fit your water heater, you can shorten it by cutting it. Putting it into the water heater (without screwing it in) will allow you to observe how high the water is at the right height. Then, take a measurement of the distance that the rod protrudes from the top of the tank and add an inch to that measurement. Cut away any surplus material with a hacksaw before re-inserting the rod into the aquarium. Simply screw it into place, and you’re finished!

How Often Should You Change Anode Rods in Water Heaters?

Water heater anode rods should be replaced about once every 3 to 5 years, assuming that the equipment is in proper working order at that time. If you reside in a location where the water is exceptionally hard and has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium ions, you may need to replace your filter more regularly, perhaps once every three years or more. The true deciding element in this situation is the quality of the water. A water softener, it should be noted, will also assist to keep your storage tank functioning smoothly, hence lowering the amount of anode rod adjustments that are necessary over time.

What is the Best Anode Rod?

Choosing the appropriate anode rod might be difficult. Choosing between the many various brands and designs offered is really difficult. One option to examine is one that is offered online through Amazon.com. TheAbout Fluid Aluminum/Zinc Flexible Anode Rod Complete Kit is a flexible anode rod made of aluminum and zinc. Every piece you need, including step-by-step, straightforward directions, is included, and it is guaranteed to suit nearly all water heating devices! With this anode rod, you may finally put a stop to rotten egg stinky water by reducing hydrogen sulfide gas, which is responsible for the foul odor!

How to Replace the Anode Rod in Your Water Heater

Note from the insider: the instructions provided here are applicable to the majority of water heater models. However, if you have a Bradford White water heater or another type that has an anode rod that is positioned on the hot water output, replacing it might be a challenging task to accomplish. As you can see in the video above, replacing these anode rods may be a challenging task. If you are doubtful about your ability to accomplish the task, you should get assistance from a certified plumber.

  • Having a second person to assist you
  • One and one sixteenth-inch socket
  • Garden hose
  • Bucket
  • Teflon tape
  • Plumbers pipe dope
  • A new anode rod
  • New hot water outlet nipple (for anode rods linked to the hot water outlet alone)
  • New hot water outlet nipple (for anode rods connected to the hot water outlet only)

In the event that you have a top-mounted anode rod, I would recommend theAbout Fluid Aluminum/Zinc Flexible Anode Rod Complete Kit, which can be obtained on Amazon. I bought this kit to replace the anode rod in my water heater. It worked well. It is available with or without the 1-1/16-inch socket.

Prep Steps

To find out what model number your water heater is, look at the data tag attached to it. Enter the search term “anode rod ‘water heater brand and model number'” into Google to find the answer.

If you have an anode rod that is attached to a hot water outlet, you will most certainly damage the nipple if you remove it, so plan on purchasing a new one. Plumbingsupply.com is another excellent source of information.

Turn off the power or fuel supply

First, you’ll need to cut off the electricity to the water heater so that you can begin working on it properly. If you have a natural gas water heater, set the thermostat to the vacation or pilot position before starting. In order to switch off an electric water heater, you must first turn off the breaker that is situated within the electrical panelbox.

Turn off the water supply

You’ll need to find and switch off the cold water supply line that feeds into the water heater first. The cold water supply pipe should be within reach of the water heater, and the water heater should be within reach of the cold water supply line.

Drain the water heater

You’ll need to remove a minimum of 10% of the water from the tank before continuing. In order to drain the water heater, you’ll need to attach a garden hose to it and send the water through it into a bucket, floor drain, or the exterior of your property. You’ll need to turn on the hot water faucet on a nearby sink and then turn on the drain valve to enable water to flow from the water heater, which will take a few minutes. It is now only necessary to drain a little amount of water in order to replace the anode rod.

Close the drain valve and remove the garden hose once the water heater has been completely drained of its contents.

Locate and Remove the Anode Rod

This rod is positioned at the very top of the water heater, near the anode. It may be distinguished by the hex head bolt on top. In order to remove the anode rod, you’ll need a 1-1/16-inch socket. A number of anode rods are attached to the hot water output, as previously mentioned. It is necessary to turn off the hot water supply in order to remove the anode rod and replace it if this is the case.

  • It takes two people to remove the anode rod from the battery. In order to prevent the water heater tank from moving and damaging the supply pipes (particularly if the tank has been empty), it is a good idea to enlist the assistance of a second person. The anode rod of your water heater may need to be bent in order to be removed if your water heater is positioned in a space with restricted height clearance. To remove the anode rod from the tank, never smash or pound it since this might cause damage to the inner tank, resulting in a leak. Try breaking the corroded seal with a breaker bar if you are having trouble removing the anode rod from the breaker rod socket. I do not suggest the use of lubricants such as Liquid Wrench or WD40 since they have the potential to seep into the water heater and pollute it.

Install the New Anode Rod

The new anode rod will need to be installed once the old anode rod has been removed from the system. You may need to use a flexible anode rod instead of a solid anode rod if you only have a limited amount of height clearance above the hot water heater. Apply Teflon tape to the threaded end of the anode rod to protect it against corrosion. With the 1-1/16 inch socket, I was able to secure the anode rod. If necessary, reconnect the pipe leading to the hot water outlet.

Turn on the Water Supply

Once the anode rod has been placed, it is necessary to re-start the cold water supply in order to re-fill the water heater with water. Following re-filling of the water heater tank and the passage of water via the openhot watertap, shut off the heated water tap.

Turn on the Power/Fuel Source

Restore electricity to the water heater in the case of gas water heaters in order to turn your thermostat back on and set it to the temperature you choose. In the case of electric water heaters, re-energize the circuit breaker at the electrical panel box.

Allow roughly one hour for the water heater to recover from its initial shutdown state. Check the anode rod connection on a regular basis to ensure that it is not dripping. If you see any leakage, tighten the connection with your 1-1/16-inch socket to stop it.


To summarize, the anode rod is the single most critical component in ensuring the longevity of your water heater. Using it will keep your water heater from rusting out and allowing water to escape from the bottom of the tank. Whether you pick a basic anode rod or a powered anode rod, by regularly repairing your water heater and changing your anode rod as needed, you can expect your water heater to last for several years. DISCLAIMER: The information provided on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not intended to be professional guidance.

Hubert Miles owns and operates HomeInspectionInsider.com, which is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Network, an affiliate advertising program established to provide a method for sites to make advertising fees by advertising and referring to Amazon.com.

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