What are the Best Tips for Anode Replacement?

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  • Written By: Patrick Lynch
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2019
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Anode replacement is necessary in a water heater or otherwise the tank will start to corrode after a few years. The best tips for anode replacement include switching off the tank’s power supply before turning off the hot and cold water supply. Then drain some water from the tank before loosening and removing the old rod. Use tape on the threads to prevent leaks and insert the new rod tightly using a wrench. Take care to bleed the tank before replacing the rod because too much pressure building up in the tank is dangerous.

There is an anode rod inside of every water heater. This rod is made from magnesium and is designed to prevent the tank from rusting. It achieves this by corroding before the tank does. If the anode is not replaced, the tank will also begin to rust. Anode replacement should take place every four years to increase the life of a water heater.

The circuit breaker or gas valve should be switched off before attempting the anode replacement. This is important for safety reasons. It is exceedingly dangerous to try and replace the anode rod when the power is on because the heater might activate during the replacement procedure. It is also important to turn off the water heater’s hot and cold water supplies.


The drain cock should have a garden hose attached to it. Drain off a few gallons of water, allowing the liquid to flow to an outside drain. Make sure that the water being drained is not hot. The whole tank does not need to be drained so shut it off once a reasonable amount of water has been eliminated.

The next step in anode replacement is to loosen the old rod’s fittings at the top of the water heater. Use a wrench to loosen it and remove the rod by lifting it out of the water heater. Wrap waterproof tape around the threads to stop any potential leaking. This needs to be done before the new rod is added.

The new rod should be put in place and securely tightened with the wrench. Slowly turn on the cold water supply and make sure there are no leaks in the threads. If everything is okay, turn on the hot water supply. Restore the gas or electricity supply to the tank.

During anode replacement, it is important to use the correct sized wrench. Failure to do so could result in the rod fitting too loosely. Be careful during draining as the water may be hot and could burn anyone who comes into contact with it. Always make sure the tank is bled before removing the anode rod is removed; pressure will build up in the tank otherwise.


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