Water heater zinc anode rods

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GReynolds929

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I hope there’s a CO monitor nearby. That flu looks like it’s as close to horizontal as you can get and not be back graded.
 

Steve_K2

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This is a long story but I'll try to make it short.
1. Thirteen-year old electric water heater, still worked, but lot of sediment that I wasn't good about draining every year. Tried to inspect the anode rod but couldn't loosen it. Tank would turn first.
2. Using breaker bar and extension pipe, anode rod didn't loosen. Using 1/2" drive impact wrench, anode rod didn't loosen. Hired plumber who brought over a bigger air compressor and probably better impact wrench, anode rod didn't loosen. Hired a SECOND plumber who also couldn't break the anode rod loose.
3. Certain the 13-year-old anode rod was bad and wanting to avoid an emergency plumbing job in winter, I decided to replace the water heater in the fall, a DIY job with the help of large, strong next door neighbor.
4. Before the new water heater was placed in the garage closet, while it was still in the garage, lying on the floor, I tried to loosen the anode rod, then apply teflon tape and pipe dope. Large next door neighbor sat astride the water heater on the box it came in to keep it from getting scratched, and hugged it tight.
5. I put all my weight (155 pounds) on the extension pipe. The breaker bar flexed. I worried the socket would break. Just before giving up, I heard a pop. The anode rod was loose. I treated its threads and put it back in the water heater. No leak there (or anywhere, yet).
6. I plan to drain the tank annually (have done it once so far), and am of the understanding the teflon tape and pipe dope let me avoid loosening the anode rod every year. Every four or five, I think.
7. Why the anode rod is torqued down so hard at the factory is beyond my understanding. To make it next to impossible for homeowners like me to loosen it, causing the water heater to need premature replacement?
8. I've taken the time to share this in hopes it helps others, and for someone to shed light on why the anode rod is torqued so tight at the factory. One reason I was given is that the water in the tank is under a lot of pressure. I can't see that it is. And if it is, why isn't the drain valve also torqued equally tight? (I replaced it with a ball valve, and it was easy to unscrew.)
9. Bottom line: before putting a new water heater in place, loosen the anode rod while we have some grip and no chance of breaking water pipes loose.
 

Twowaxhack

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I’d buy one of these if I took anodes out.

 

skeezix

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Right after I mounted the heater I replaced the copper pipe from the P&T valve with a hose that goes into the sink. In my entire 77 years I have never seen a P&T valve open.

The horizontal vent pipe? Don't know why it is horizontal. The new heater is exactly the same height as the old one, but its diameter is one inch larger, moving the vent pipe 1/2 inch farther away from the flue. Maybe that's the problem. No signs of condensation from it though. I'll keep an eye on it.

As far as the torque multiplier wrench goes, it won't stop the tank from turning when trying to use it to remove the anode.
 

Twowaxhack

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Right after I mounted the heater I replaced the copper pipe from the P&T valve with a hose that goes into the sink. In my entire 77 years I have never seen a P&T valve open.

The horizontal vent pipe? Don't know why it is horizontal. The new heater is exactly the same height as the old one, but its diameter is one inch larger, moving the vent pipe 1/2 inch farther away from the flue. Maybe that's the problem. No signs of condensation from it though. I'll keep an eye on it.

As far as the torque multiplier wrench goes, it won't stop the tank from turning when trying to use it to remove the anode.
The torque multiplier would need a steel bracket to attach to the leg of the multiplier then that would push against the side of the heater and prevent it from trying to turn.

The multiplier bracing leg already has holes in it to make adding a bracket easy.

T&P valves operate under pressure or temp......or both.

When the T&p valve operates from high temp it will discharge a crap ton of water and will not stop until the water cools down below its activation point.

So it’ll spray hot water all over someone standing close by. So it’s good to terminate them properly, hopefully yours is sufficient.
 

Twowaxhack

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Now I’ll probably end up buying a torque multiplier just to play around with. 🤓

Wouldn’t be a bad tool to have around anyway.
 

Steve_K2

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I’d buy one of these if I took anodes out.

Seems a 3-foot pipe would be a lot cheaper and more effective to boot.
 

Twowaxhack

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Seems a 3-foot pipe would be a lot cheaper and more effective to boot.
Seems like it might be, but you need room to use it. I often work in tight places.

Why would anyone ever buy a torque multiplier ? 🤓
 
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arctic bill

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How does one keep the tank from turning when one uses a breaker bar to remove the anode? My heater sits on a small, 2-foot-high pedestal with very little room for me to stand. See below:

First off your hot water tank is not strapped to hold it in place during a earth quake. I do not know the regs in your area but if there was an earth quake the tank would fall and rip open the gas line.
so install strapping to hold it in place then you can work on the tank. the tank will be full so it is not going to dance around like and empty one.
 

Steve_K2

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the tank will be full so it is not going to dance around like and empty one.
In my vast experience as a homeowner who's replaced all of three electric water heaters in his life, that full tank won't stay in place if we're trying to loosen a frozen anode rod with a breaker bar.

An impact wrench has the advantage of not twisting the tank, but some say it might crack the inner glass liner. In any event, two impact wrenches and two air compressors weren't enough to break loose the anode rod on one of my water heaters. See my post above.

The solution for me is to loosen the anode rod before it's installed, using leverage, then to apply pipe dope or teflon tape or both to the anode rod threads.
 

RS

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Loosen the anode before you drain the tank, the heavier it is the less apt it is to move. I have tried to remove them, and given up, afraid I would damage the tank. In 45 years on home ownership, I have never had a water heater leak, and we stayed in one house for 27 years.
 

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