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Old 09-02-2011, 06:27 AM  
sisyphus
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Default anode rods

Hi all, I was recently doing a web search on water heaters on how to prolong the life of my water heater and discovered that not only should I drain the heater every yr. but also to inspect and change the anode rod every few years.I have a 9 yr 50 gal. GE heater which I purchased in 2001 and have not not done any of these things. so far the heater seems to be working fine. I've been trying to locate the anode rod and base on the parts description in the manual, it describes a magnesium anode with a hot water outlet. I also poped off a large plastic cap off the top of the heater and I see a 1-11/4 hex bolt surrounded by insulation. is it possible that there are two anode rods in this heater? thanks



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Old 09-02-2011, 08:10 AM  
Redwood
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As far as the draining and flushing if that hasn't been done yet on a water heater that old it is probably too late to start now. It is done to flush out the sediment at the bottom of the water heater and no doubt you have a good sized piece of limestone at the bottom by now that will not break apart or, flow out the drain. At 10 years old your water heaters life is close to being over as in maybe today maybe 5 years from now. Do the flushing on your next one.

One thing about draining and flushing that most people do not understand is when you do it you drain the water heater empty using the drain and an open hot water faucet to allow air into the tank and allowing the water to drain. Once empty you close the hot water faucets then open the cold supply while the drain is still open this allows the incoming water to beat up the lime sediment breaking it up and flushing it out the drain under pressure.

As for the anode they are either a hex nut going through the top of the tank or, attached to the hot outlet nipple. Very few will have both unless someone added an anode. Given the water heaters age your anode has disappeared years ago and is probably better off left alone as touching it may turn the water heater into a replace today project.

I'd say wait and leave well enough alone and hope you get a few more years out of the existing water heater, then once you get a new one maintain it properly.



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Old 09-06-2011, 06:13 PM  
Caduceus
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It's only been 10 years on your 9 year old tank and it is very likely that you have two anodes. This is how manufacturers can give longer warranties on the tank. Do as Redwood suggested when it comes to flushing out the tank. A thorough rinse is very important to remove sediment and promote better heating of the the water while reducing the risk of other related problems.
If you do decide to buy another tank in the near future, you can always price compare at hot water tank retailers. For example: If a 9, 10 or 12 year tank costs $200 more than a standard 5 or 6 year tank, you can see how much an additional anode would cost and install it yourself before the tank is hooked up.
It's that easy. A 6 year tank becomes a 12 year tank just by adding an anode.
If you do have two anodes and plan on changing them, you could be in for quite a chore.

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Old 09-07-2011, 10:25 AM  
Redwood
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Many manufacturers have no difference other than price between a long warranty and short warranty water heater. A water heater has an average life expectancy of about 12 years, some will exceed and others will fall short the difference in price is only an insurance policy.

When I pick up a Bradford White water heater the water heater is sitting on the loading dock on a hand truck before I am even asked about the warranty length and the numbers they punch in on the invoice determine the warranty length and price.

From the GE Water Heater Website:

Quote:
6-Year Limited Warranty
Full 1 year in-home warranty
6 year limited warranty on tank and parts
Dual heating elements for fast recovery
Magnesium anode rod for extended tank protection
Color coordinated heat trap fittings for inlet and outlet connections
Durable high temperature dip tube to meet plumbing code requirements
Porcelain-lined tank for additional protection
Factory installed temperature and pressure relief valve to help reduce installation time
Meets or exceeds National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) and ASHRAE requirements
Quote:
9-Year Limited Warranty
Full 1 year in-home warranty
9 year limited warranty on tank and parts
Stainless steel upper heating element with patented resistor design
Dual heating elements for fast recovery
Self-cleaning system reduces mineral build-up
Heavy duty anode rod for extended tank protection
Color coordinated heat trap fittings for inlet and outlet connections
Durable high temperature dip tube to meet plumbing code requirements
Porcelain-lined tank for additional protection
Factory installed temperature and pressure relief valve to help reduce installation time
Meets or exceeds National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) and ASHRAE requirements
Quote:
12-Year Limited Warranty
Full 1 year in-home warranty
12 year limited warranty on tank and parts
Stainless steel upper heating element with patented resistor design
Dual heating elements for fast recovery
5500 watt resistor element heats water 22% faster than standard 4500 watt models
Tamper-resistant brass drain valve
Self-cleaning system reduces mineral build-up
Heavy duty anode rod for extended tank protection
Color coordinated heat trap fittings for inlet and outlet connections
Durable high temperature dip tube to meet plumbing code requirements
Porcelain-lined tank for additional protection
Factory installed temperature and pressure relief valve to help reduce installation time
Meets or exceeds National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) and ASHRAE requirements
Usually if there are differences it is confined to things like better elements, and brass vs. plastic drain valves....

Save your money and self insure.....
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Old 09-07-2011, 02:55 PM  
Caduceus
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Redwood. It's good to see that you were able to get the info that sisyphus needed via the internet. It has been and still is common practice in my area to offer an additional anode installation, if the tank allows it, as part of extending the life of the tank. You may still find manufacturers installing additional anodes, as I have mentioned, which is good to know for future maintenance on the tank.
I am a bit puzzled by the conflict of info given to sisyphus by you. You stated that there is no difference, but the price, on long warranty or short warranty tanks yet the info posted from GE shows that there is a difference in the anode. There is additional info that GE provided that reflects the cost difference between tanks. Not just an insurance policy, but some people want to pay more for better elements, brass drains, lined tanks and heavy duty anodes.
It was assumed that the tank was electric, but may be gas. If the tank is gas, it would definitely benefit sisyphus to flush the tank instead of waiting for the next new one. The tank will heat more efficiently without a build up of sediment and will also remove a potential breeding ground for bacteria. An anode change could add years to the tank, depending on its current condition.
You might be surprised how happy a customer can be with your services once you offer a little more than the norm.

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Old 09-07-2011, 04:16 PM  
Redwood
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I believe if you reread my original post you will see that what I stated was correct....

Rheem does offer a Professional "Protection Plus" package to plumbing contractors where additional anodes are part of the package they can offer their customers.

Some water heaters also have an electronic anode which does not require replacement.

On an Electric water heater that age the bottom element may be removed and the "Rock" in the bottom of the tank broken up and removed, but at 10 years there is the risk that the work could turn the minor servicing into a buy now and water heater change out.

On a gas water heater I'm sorry to say the chances of having an effective flushing is right up there with my chances of winning PowerBall....

If one of my customers wanted me to flush a 10 year old water heater that had never been serviced before and or, wanted me to change out the anodes or, pull an element on one I would advise them against it and if they insisted on me doing it they would indeed sign that they were advised not to do so but wanted me to go ahead anyway....

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Old 09-11-2011, 05:55 PM  
sisyphus
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thanks all for responding, I think I'll take Redwood's advice and leave well enough alone. I'll just be more caring on my next water heater.



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