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Do people really change anodes?

AaronH Member Posts: 59
We moved into a house with a 10 year old Bock 32e Oil Fired waterheater. The previous owners were numbskulls, and very little maintenance was done, but the unit seems like it is in good shape and we had the burner serviced this summer.

I'm thinking about replacing the two anodes at $47.00/ea - is this a good idea or should I just leave well enough alone?

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  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    good luck

    Those things are in there tight to say the least. I would have someone bear hug it while you muscle them out. Using teflon tape on the new ones will make life a lot easier for the next removal/inspection. Chances are that a 10 year old tank, replacing them now won't do much in the way of prolonging it's life any more that what it was destined to live. Water quality plays a big part in that. Be careful for those crappy galvi nipples, as the slightest movement of the tank will surely get the leaking where the female adapters connect on top. That is what, IMHO, is what is the true enemy here. I install brass nipple in place of them as far back as the early 80's, and many of my tanks are still going strong. Galvi nipples rot away, and ends up on the tanks bottom, and creates rusty water. That's all they do. Manufacture's cheap way out
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,856
    I would pull...

    ... one anode and see how it looks.  If there is anything left, you likely have hope of keeping the heater going.  What you would like to see is a rod with some magnesium left on it and a long steel wire with little rust.  Both anodes will show the same wear.  There are lots of tricks for getting stubborn anodes out, from an impact wrench to using two long cheater bars and squeezing between them.

    Anode condition is your best clue about how the heater is doing.

    Yours,  Larry
  • AaronH
    AaronH Member Posts: 59
    Going to Try

    This is an expensive unit, so I'm going to at least try. I'll spray them with PB Plaster and work on getting them out.

    Do I need to worry about crushing/cracking the tank when I put a socket/cheater bar on them?

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  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930

    If home owners would replace their anode rods in any type water heater that has them in them every 18 to 24 months their tank type water heater would last much longer then if they never replaced it. Water heater manufactures install them to make their water heaters last longer. A 6 year warranty electric water heater will have only one anode rod where a 10 year warranty water heater will have two anode rods. Water will attack the anode rod first and after the anode rod is gone the water will find a small crack in the glass lining and attack the steel tank causing the tank to get a hole in it and leak then you will be replacing the water heater.  If you remove and replace the anode rod every year it should not be to hard to replace.
  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    edited January 2012
    Try this.

    We have an unusual ground water makeup here. With 90%+ of our customers on well water, we are forced to check the anode rods with every annual boiler service.

    Most of us use a 24" 1/2"drive breaker bar and a 22mm socket (I think). I will go out to the truck to check the socket size in a few minutes.

    Be careful with PB blaster. If any of it gets into the tank, the water will smell funny for a long time. (Ask me how I know this. LOL) Applying a little bit of heat to the anode and then touching it with wax will allow the wax to move into the thread. This works better than PB. Just be gentle with the heat.

    The first time that you take the anode out, it is best to have two guys there, so that one can hold the tank. We lube the threads with faucet grease when we reinstall and this seems to make future removals easier. On new installs, we do this prior to the first fill.

    Good Luck.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,856
    Put a little teflon tape...

    ...on the threads of the anode.  It will NOT affect conductivity and will make it easier to replace the next time.  I wouldn't use any chemical on the threads as it could get into the water.  Brute force is an effective chemical.  The anode is likely one and one sixteenth inches.

    Yours,  Larry
  • AaronH
    AaronH Member Posts: 59
    edited January 2012
    One Anode Changed...With a story!

    I tackled the project yesterday, sort of. I got one anode out with brute force, but the threads got way buggered up. Luckily I was able to run a 3/4" tap - yep - it's just 3/4" pipe threads on these, and the new anode is in without leaks. I used liquid teflon thread sealant on the threads.

    The old anode seemed like it was actually in decent shape!, and was definitely original.  I decided not to risk the other side at this time. Do you think I should?

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  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,856
    edited January 2012
    That old rod...

    ... was active top and bottom, but the center part of it looks passivated.  The advice you don't want to hear, is I think you should replace the other anode.  Make sure you're using pure magnesium anodes.  They work better in relatively clean water.

    Yours,  Larry

    ps.  Good job getting the old rod out!
  • Al_19
    Al_19 Member Posts: 170
    Save yourself a lot of grief.......

    Get an electric impact wrench. It will walk the anode rod right out of the heater without putting all that stress on everything. Piece of cake then.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,249
    Lots of 10 year heaters

    have only a piece of paper that calls them a 10 year now Bob, I just found that out a few years ago, they no longer install the second anode rod. So now for X dollars you get a warranty, and a stick and it is now a 10 year heater.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • KCA_2
    KCA_2 Member Posts: 308
    The way I have always done it

    was to take a 1 1/8" (I think it's 1 1/8"  it may be 1 1/16") socket with a breaker bar & a 24" cheater...  It has always worked...  & changing them is a great idea..  It will prolong the life of the heater...  as long as you replace the rods before any oxidation has taken place... once that happens I've found that even a new rod won't help the life any longer...

    Hope this helps

    KCA  :)
    :-) Ken
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