This DIY repair guide explains how to replace the anode rod in an electric water heater. The anode rod helps prevent tank corrosion. Natural micro-organisms and sulfates that exist in some water can react to the aluminum or magnesium anode rods in the hot water tank, creating a rotten egg smell. If your hot water begins to smell bad, replace the anode rod with a less reactive zinc-aluminum rod to help combat the smell.
Use these steps to replace the anode rod in Kenmore, State, A. O. Smith, Rheem, Reliance and Whirlpool water heaters.
Replacing a water heater anode rod video.
Shut off the electricity
Switch the two house circuit breakers dedicated for the water heater to OFF.
Wear work gloves to protect your hands.
Switch the water heater circuit breakers off.
Drain the water heater
Turn off the cold water supply to the water heater.
Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the unit and run the garden hose outside.
Open a hot water faucet in the house or flip the relief valve open on the water heater.
Open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain about 5 gallons of water and then close the drain valve and remove the garden hose.
Turn off the cold water supply.
Attach the garden hose the water heater heater drain valve.
Flip the pressure relief valve to the open position.
Open the drain valve.
Close the drain valve.
Remove the garden hose.
Remove the anode rod
Pry the plastic cap off from the top of the water heater covering the anode rod.
Remove the foam insulation covering the anode rod.
Unthread the anode rod and pull it up and out from the tank.
Pry off the anode rod cap.
Unthread the anode rod.
Remove the anode rod.
Install the new anode rod
Wrap pipe thread-sealing tape around the threads of the new anode rod.
Thread the new anode rod into the tank and tighten firmly.
Reinsert the plastic cap.
Apply thread sealing tape to the anode rod threads.
Install the new anode rod.
Reinstall the anode rod cap.
Fill the tank with water
Turn the cold water supply on to the water heater and allow the tank to fill with water.
When water begins to flow from the open hot water faucet, turn the hot water faucet off.
Turn on the cold water supply.
Flip the house circuit breakers to the ON position.
Flip the circuit breakers to the On position.
If the drain valve on your electric water heater is leaking water, replace it following these step-by-step instructions.
If your hot water begins to smell like rotten eggs, replace the anode rod with a zinc-aluminum anode rod following the instructions in this repair guide.
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