Many homeowners are not familiar with water heater repair and, in fact, don’t even know much about how a water heater works. One of the most important parts of a water heater is the anode rod, as it is the device within the unit that attracts sediment and deteriorating particles that could otherwise attack and corrode the tank. Changing the anode rod is an instrumental part of water heater repair and maintenance, aiding in giving your water heater a longer life.
Here are the steps you can take at home to make the switch yourself.
- Always turn off power to your water heater first, usually from the circuit breaker. Turn off the water supply to the tank, and run all hot water out through a faucet in the house. Once the water has drained, turn off the faucet.
- The top of your water heater tank should have a hex nut. It may be under a metal cap that must first be moved, but this is the anode rod. Take the screws out (usually you’ll need a Phillips head screwdriver and nothing more) to find the hex nut beneath.
- Use a socket wrench (with a 1 1/16” socket) to loosen and remove the nut, turning counterclockwise. You may need a second set of hands to hold the tank still, and if the hex nut is locked down too tight, you can use a breaker bar, a handy tool for water heater repair.
- Use the hex nut to lift the anode rod from inside the tank.
- Before installing the new anode rod, wrap all threading with plumber’s tape for a better seal. Lower the rod in and hand tighten the hex nut at the top of the tank before tightening with the socket wrench.
- Turn the cold water supply back on, and power on the circuit breaker (for gas water heaters, you’ll also need to light the pilot to begin heating water).
Water heater repair such as this is a simple job, and under normal circumstances, it’s something you can do yourself, especially if you have a partner with a second set of hands. Save yourself some money on costly repairs and early replacement of your water heater by making sure your anode rod is in good working condition and doing its job effectively. However, if this doesn’t solve your water heater problem you may want to consider calling your local plumbing company to come and take a look at what maybe going wrong with your water heater.