Step 2: Check the Anode Rod

latex-gloved hands check an anode rod from a water heater
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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Put a hose to the tank's drain cock and let out a few gallons of water. Now fit a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the rod's hex head on top of the heater (or under its top plate) and unscrew the rod. If it's less than ½ inch thick or coated with calcium, buy a new one, wrap its threads with Teflon tape, put it back in the tank, and tighten securely. Use this segmented rod if headroom above the tank is limited.
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    Tools List

    • bucket with sponge
      Bucket
    • pipe wrench
      Pipe wrench
    • garden hose
      Garden hose
    • socket wrench
      Socket wrench with 1-1/16-inch head
    • flathead screwdriver
      Flathead screwdriver

    Shopping List

    1. Anode rod

    2. Teflon tape

    3. 3/8-inch-thick self-stick foam pipe insulation to hold heat in the pipes. Make sure you get the right diameter for your pipes 4. 1-inch-thick unfaced fiberglass pipe wrap to insulate pipes near the flue

    5. Water heater insulating blanket

    6. Foil tape to seal the insulating blanket