• In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey explains how to change a water heater anode rod.


    Steps:

    1 Turn off water and fuel supply (gas or electricity) to water heater.
    2 Partially drain the water heater.
    3 Locate the anode rod on the water heater; if necessary, unscrew and lift off the cover from the top of the heater.
    4 Use a ratchet wrench and 1 1/16-inch deep socket to unscrew the anode rod from the heater.
    5 If the anode rod won’t budge, slip a steel pipe onto ratchet wrench handle for extra leverage.
    6 Lift out and discard the old anode rod.
    7 Wrap Teflon tape around threads of new anode rod; insert anode rod into water heater and tighten with 1 1/16-inch socket.
    8 If limited space above the heater prevents the installation of a standard anode rod, install a collapsible type.
    9 Turn on the water and fuel supply to the water heater.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      The toughest part is loosening the old anode rod
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      Tools List

      • Nut screwdriver
        Screwdriver,
        used to remove cover from water heater, if necessary
      • ratchet wrench
        Ratchet wrench and 1 1/16-inch deep socket

      Shopping List

      1. Anode rod

      2. Steel pipe,

      used to provide extra leverage to ratchet wrench



      3. Teflon tape

      4. Garden hose,

      used to partially drain the water heater