It could happen to you! It still makes me cringe just thinking about it. Last Spring my anode rod bit the tank – and my hot water tank almost died with it.
Last year I didn’t even know what an anode rod was or that I had one. Worse, I didn’t know its value to the life and health of my hot water heater and my water.
The first time I recognized I had a problem was when a circle of my coworkers began gossiping around the water cooler about me having an “odor.” Yes I was walking around smelling like hot garbage and didn’t even know it.
For me, it wasn’t written in black and white. I had a problem and I didn’t know how to fix it or where to start. No matter how much I showered, bathed, washed my hair and brush my teeth; I couldn’t make the stink go away and little did I know that the source of my problem was in the water.
I actually owe my salvation to my cat Juju. She began refusing to drink tap water. Foolish me; scoffed it off to her being finicky. No matter what I couldn’t get that cat to drink tap water.
But still, I didn’t figure out that I had a real water problem until I began searching over the Internet for water problems and happened to run across an obscure article about a yellow film around my tub.
The reason why this article got my attention was again because of my cat Juju. When I would give Juju her weekly bath, I noticed a yellow film around the tub. Finally after reading the article, I figured out that this wasn’t something sticking to my cat’s coat, but rather a hot water supply problem.
There are two things that every homeowner needs to add to the yearly home improvement dos that can save thousands of dollars in plumbing bills.
The anode rod is the best kept secret among plumbers. Why? It is the life of our water heater and it keeps not only our water supply clean and free from harmful bacteria but also our water.
Briefly, the anode rod keeps harmful bacteria from eating away at our hot water tanks causing rust, leakage and eventual replacement. As a homeowner, each spring we should check it to ensure that it isn’t corroded. Replace the anode rod every 5 to 10 years depending on how often the hot water tank is being used.
In between the replacement, drain the hot water heater tank at least once during the spring season each year. This will alleviate the settlement that literally chews on that anode rod.
When this rod is gnawed down to nothing; bacteria begins chomping down on the glassy coating of the inside of the hot water tank until it chews through causing leakage; thus needing to have the hot water tank replaced. The links below were the actual links I used when performing maintenance on my water heater. I still refer to them for a quick review as part of my regular spring cleaning when checking my hot water tank.
*Drain the hot water heater tank
*Replace the anode rod
Flushing the tank will cost you the price of a garden hose and a couple of hours from your day. The anode rode sells in most home improvement stores for under 50 bucks. It is a standard piece of equipment. Both jobs are easy to perform, but I will say that unscrewing that rod you will need some brute strength in turning it. Follow the advice about using an extension in order to gain sufficient leverage.
Also note that you may have trouble finding the hex-head 1 and 1/16th inch specialized socket wrench to remove and replace it. My advice, check with an automotive store. My brother and I after searching hardware and home improvement stores were finally able to borrow the socket head from a mechanic friend of his.
If you don’t want to be the talk around the water cooler like me; take heed and maintain your water heater tank this spring. Your family, friends, and coworkers will thank you for keeping the airway smelling fresh.