How to Replace Your Water Heater Anode Rod

What You'll Need
New Anode

A water heater anode rod will typically only last for around 12 years, so if you are living in an aging house, then the chances are that you will need one of these replaced soon. The cost of replacing these little rods can vary between 350 dollars, and nearly $2000, depending upon the work required. Many home improvement fans are reluctant to allow plumbers and electricians to do anything in their homes that they think they can do for much less, so if you are thinking about replacing your own water heater anode, here are a few simple tips that will help you to get the job done with less effort.

Step 1 - Turn the Water Off

The first thing that needs to be done before the anode can be replaced is to turn off all the water. This needs to be done in two stages. Firstly, turn off the water heater, either by turning off the circuit breaker, or by turning the gas valve to Off. Put a hose onto the Drain valve of your heater, and then run the water into either a drain or a bucket. The pipe has to be held lower than the heater, or you can use a transfer pump to get the water away. Shut off the cold water, and then open a hot water tap somewhere in the house. You must shut the tap off and turn the faucet on, in that order.

Step 2 - Replace the Anode

Once the heater is empty, you are ready to replace the anode. You should first check where the anode is. Some water heaters have them at the outlet, in which case you will have to break up the pipe in order to get at the outlet nipple connection. You will also need some way to connect the pipe when it is finished. Once the pipe is removed, take the outlet nipple off using the wrench. Take off the old anode, and insert the new one. Seal the nipple using teflon paste on the threads. If the anode is plugged in, then you will need to release it by using an impact wrench, which prevents spinning. Anodes have to be replaced straight down, in order to prevent them being damaged. Older anode rods bend, but new ones don't.

Step 3 - Finishing Off

Now you have installed the anode, you should reopen the cold water valve, and let the tank refill. Open the hot water faucet, and once water starts flowing, the tank is full. If the faucet does not work, the aerator has become clogged with debris. Release this by cleaning, and then proceed. Check the entire system for leaks of any kind, and then turn the hot water heater back on, rechecking for leaks again once the water is hot. Ensure that the water is fully hot, as this ensures that the new anode is working correctly. Once all of these check are complete, your water heater should be ready for use whenever you require.