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Why didnt my water heater's anode rod sacrifice itself ?

Dave Carpentier
Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 338
Electric water heater on well water, fed from a softener.
So, when I last changed out my anode I wrote the date on the side of the tank.. and it said "Mag 2017".
5 years time got me feeling that there would be no rod left perhaps. Ordered a new magnesium one.
When I drew the rod out, I was kinda shocked to see it looking basically new.
I'll measure the diameter tomorrow and compare to spec, but it looks like there's nothing missing really.
Should I be thinking about pulling the elements out to see if theyre damaged instead ?
Do I just have good water conditions, and theres nothing wrong with this situation ?

30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
Currently in building maintenance.

Comments

  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,694
    Hi, What sort of anode did you install? Is there a resistor in the head of it? If you bend the rod, does a hard scale flake off of it? I've seen anodes in softened water completely consumed in six months. For yours to be basically untouched after about five years tells me it's not working. Rheem puts a resistor in the head of their rods. Sometimes this slows the current flow enough to basically prevent the rod from working. Rheem anodes are flat on top of the hex head, while other magnesium rods have a weld bump on top in the center. Another thought... does your tank have a second anode? The existence of another rod could help explain things.

    Yours, Larry
    reggiSTEVEusaPA
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 338
    This is a Bradford White tank (M280R8DS) and rod. I didnt see any other anode port or in the diagram.
    In 90% sure it was a magnesium rod. I dont see any type of resistor area, but maybe internally ? The rod is part of the hot port.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,907
    Not all water is insanely corrosive, you know. If it's moderately hard, pH around 7 or a bit LESS, not softened... could be just the way it is.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 17,468
    Does BW have two anodes in some of their tanks?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,694
    Hi, I looked up residential electric tanks on the BW site and only saw a single anode in the hot outlet. This type of rod can lose electrical contact between the magnesium and pipe nipple. A properly working magnesium anode should show a rough surface, with most metal loss at the ends. I never have anodes last longer than three years in softened water. Maybe consider installing a powered anode. It can be put into a replacement heater should this one fail.

    Yours, Larry
    STEVEusaPA
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 338
    Sounding like I should pull the elements and looksee.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,694
    Can't hurt. Also see if water drawn from the bottom of the tank is rusty.

    Yours, Larry
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 338
    Just went out and looked over the back lawn area where the tank drained to. No rusty brown patch that I can find. When I used the same hose later on in the day to flush the house pipes (had just shocked the well) a bit of dark did come out. But I was also pushing air, which tends to clean out the piping innards a bit (got a small bit of dark in every point).
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 645
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/142271777319

    This is what I am using for a powered titanium anode.

    Our system replaces the factory installed Aluminum Anode Rod (your odor source) inside the Water Tank with a non-degrading Titanium Anode Sensor Rod.
    We stand behind this product from the day you purchase it with a lifetime replacement warranty. Should the Green/Red LED Power Supply status light ever fail, contact us for a free replacement.

    Bradford White Tanks.
    For water tanks that use Nipple Style Anode rods (Bradford White, see main photos), a plumbing adapter will be needed. Nipple style Anode Rods are attached to the Hot Water inlet tube on top of your tank. The 4 parts needed are available at any big box store at a Cost of $10.00 or Less. See our main photo area for the parts needed. Please contact us for installation questions if you have any.


  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,591
    /here is the same thing on Larry's web site:
    https://www.waterheaterrescue.com/products/powered-anodes-for-sale.html

    I would also replace the drain with a full port ball valve if you haven't already so that you can effectively flush it.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,694
    Hi @mattmia2 , I did teach the owner of that site, Randy a lot about hot water, but it’s his child and I have no financial interest in it. I’m more of a godfather 😉 He has good stuff and provides good support. Thanks for bringing up the right drain valve. It matters!

    Yours, Larry
    mattmia2
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 338
    Thanks for the link. Bookmarked.

    The valve that comes with this tank is this ball valve.
    Worth an upgrade ?


    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,694
    Hi, I’d just compare the size of the opening in this valve and a full port ball valve. More flow has a good chance of carrying more sediment with it. What you have is much better than the normal plastic valves!

    Yours, Larry
    STEVEusaPA
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 231
    mattmia2 said:
    /here is the same thing on Larry's web site: https://www.waterheaterrescue.com/products/powered-anodes-for-sale.html I would also replace the drain with a full port ball valve if you haven't already so that you can effectively flush it.
    Psst . https://www.larryweingarten.com/  he's very modest 
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    mattmia2Dave Carpentier
  • george_42
    george_42 Member Posts: 115
    I dropped my chanelock wrench and it hit the plastic drain valve and snapped it off and 50 gal hot water on the floor. the customer just happened to have huge pile of rags nearby and soaked up all the water before it could get to the finished basement area
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 338
    george_42 said:

    ... just happened to have huge pile of rags nearby and soaked up all the water before it could get to the finished basement area

    Had a toilet seriously overflow once, only thing handy was the bath towels. I told the wife we could just launder them. So then we went shopping for new bath towels.


    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
    bburd