Premature anode failure causes?


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Old 09-08-18, 11:03 AM
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Premature anode failure causes?

I bought a house in Phoenix with a 2 year old aosmith gas water heater. The house has a whole house water softener. The heater started leaking and we had to replace it. When aosmith took it apart, they said the anode was completely dissolved so the tank corroded. They said it should have been inspected after one year.

Perhaps that is true, but I never had a heater go so quickly. And none of my neighbors ever experienced this problem. Nor have they ever inspected the anode. Some drain the tank once a year, others do not.

What makes the anode erode so quickly? Softened water? Water pressure? I want this new heater to last much longer. Thanks!
 
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Old 09-08-18, 11:42 AM
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Is this a municipal water supply, so that your Neighbors have exactly the same incoming water chemistry ?

What's the pH of your incoming water ?

What's the pH of it after softening (at the faucet) ?

Acidic water would eat away at the sacrificial anode rod; but 2 years would be extremely fast (I think) !.
 
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Old 09-08-18, 11:51 AM
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It’s municipal water. I never tested the ph because you are the first to mention it. I would have to get the strips. Wouldn’t municipal water provide a reasonable ph level?
 
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Old 09-08-18, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by egruber
". . . Wouldnít municipal water provide a reasonable ph level? . . ."
You would certainly think so; but is that always the case ?

Could your water softener do anything to alter the pH ?
 
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Old 09-08-18, 01:19 PM
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I can’t say with certainty, but I do know that my neighbors share the same water supply and all have similar salt based softening system. I don’t think mine would be any different.
 
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Old 09-09-18, 01:38 AM
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It sounds as though A.O. Smith is honoring the Warranty on this Hot Water Heater; and their Quality Control People were concerned enough to at least begin some assessment of why it failed pre-maturely.

If they ruled out workmanship issues involved in the installation and ruled out environmental concerns regarding the effect of the water softener or the pH of the incoming water supply, that seems to only leave issues of initial faulty product manufacturing defects.

I grew up in Milwaukee where A.O. Smith is a major manufacturer. In the 1950s, it was common for Public School kids to take field trips to their facilities. I don't know what their current field operations involve, or how concerned they would be with a matter like yours; but it does sound like they're taking the failure seriously.

As a rule of thumb, replacing a sacrificial Anode Rod every five (5) years is what I've heard is the normal suggestion (though few people perform this basic preventative maintenance), I doubt that A.O. Smith has anything in their Warranty suggesting that a HomeOwner must remove and examine the Anode Rod every year to keep the Warranty in effect. Insisting on such a stringent procedure would kill their business . . . . and I think they remain the world largest water heater manufacturer.

I would seek suggestions from Quality Control in Milwaukee regarding this issue. I'm not a Plumber, and others involved in the Profession may have a better idea; but I think imposing the requirement that the HomeOwner inspect the Anode Rod annually would be a bit bizarre. Did their local Phoenix affiliate put that statement in writing ?
 
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Old 09-09-18, 09:53 AM
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Actually, Aosmith declined the warranty. Contrary to common sense, they insist that it is the homeowners responsibility to have the anode inspected each year by a plumber and they say it is in the manual. Because this was never done, the warranty was void. How is that for customer service?

And they had no interest in pursuing why the anode failed. Itís simply my fault.

Fortunately, I had it replaced under my homeowners warranty contract. But my insurance company was seeking reimbursement for all the damage the leak caused...including my $500 deductible. All declined by Aosmith.

I guess I wonít be buying from them any time soon.

This is an excerpt from their letter.

The anode rod was completely consumed per the expert report. The manual assigned to this water heater advises the owner to check the anode rod annually if they have artificially softened water, which they did, and to replace if needed. No maintenance had been done by your insured, including the required anode rod maintenance.
 
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Old 09-09-18, 10:39 AM
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Well that's certainly unfortunate; did you get such an Owner's Manual 2 years ago ?

Despite that denial, there's something amiss regarding the speed with which your Anode Rod deteriorated. I don't know if installers aver conduct an evaluation of the incoming water characteristics before deciding what kind of Anode Rod install at a given site; but here's a write-up on the different kinds of Anode Rods that might be chosen and the reasons why one might be selected over the others:

http://https://www.doityourself.com/...rods-explained
 
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Old 09-09-18, 11:30 AM
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I didnít buy it. It was in a house I purchased and failed a few days before I moved in. So I never looked at it but aosmith is sending it to me. Iím sure it will say what they said.

The new new one is a Bradford White. Their manual also suggests periodic inspection of the anode. I called them and the two options are magnesium or aluminum. It has magnesium now, as do most consumer units.

I will probably inspect it after the first year. Just to see what is happening. And I plan to pursue aosmith a bit more.
 
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Old 09-09-18, 12:43 PM
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I still think you'd be wise to check the acidity of whatever water gets into your hot water heater because unless that last Anode Rod was somehow defective, it's the acid in your water (a low pH) that is deteriorating the Rod so much faster than what other HomeOwners experience.

The prior Owners may be able to relay what their experience was with Anode Rods and whether this is a new phenomenon.
 
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Old 09-09-18, 01:14 PM
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If I find the water to be acidic, what can I do about it? Again, my neighbors have the same water. And unless my water softener is doing something unusual, it should be ok. Can a softener make water acidic? I donít know a lot about them.
 
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Old 09-09-18, 02:30 PM
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If you don't want to know, then don't bother.

It's only if it tests acidic that you'll know to trace the cause, and rectify it. And of course, the mitigation process would depend upon what is causing it.

If it tests neutral, then you can relax, and assume that the last Anode Rod was just a fluke.

As a starting point, I'd imagine that the Municipality would be willing to tell you what the pH reads as the water is leaving their purification facility.
 
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Old 09-28-18, 01:20 AM
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If the manual 'advises' you to check the anode -- without mentioning that failure to do so would void the warrantee -- then that's all it is: advice.

I would think about calling an attorney. I don't know anyone that inspects their anode.
Most of the time they're difficult to remove.
 
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Old 09-28-18, 02:38 PM
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Some updates.

I had the ph tested and it was 7.3 which is normal. I also replaced the magnesium rod in my new heater with a zinc/aluminum one which is supposed to last the longest. In my plumber’s opinion, the magnesium rod we pulled showed normal wear and he said the heater should have a normal life.

When I told AOSmith all of this they said that even if their heater had failed, it was my responsibility to pull the rod each year and inspect it. The warranty has a catch all phrase that says failure to do anything recommended in the manual voids the warranty, so they won’t budge.

I even asked their customer service person who pays about $100 each year to have a plumber pull their rod. Her answer? Are you sitting down? She said it doesn’t require a plumber. It’s a DIY job.
 
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Old 09-30-18, 08:33 AM
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I even asked their customer service person who pays about $100 each year to have a plumber pull their rod. Her answer? Are you sitting down? She said it doesnít require a plumber. Itís a DIY job.

Although I hear it recommended on this forum to sometimes check the anode rod, I do not know of anyone in all my years to have ever checked one. Your story about your experience with AO Smith sounds like good reason to avoid their water heaters. Basically, they are blatantly not honoring their warranty.
 
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Old 09-30-18, 11:49 AM
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That’s exactly what I told them. What used to be a good product is now junk. And they were exploiting every loophole to avoid taking any responsibility.

And they really didn’t care.
 
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Old 10-01-18, 11:18 AM
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... I do not know of anyone in all my years to have ever checked one.

I tried it once on one that had sprung a leak just out of curiosity, not a chance that thing would come loose.

I've read on here that an impact wrench is the best, lots a luck if you don't have one.

Personally, I think they put them that tight so you don't check it.

My two cents
 
 

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