Q&A / 

Water Heater Anode Rod

Dear Tim: In your response to the writer who asked you about tankless water heaters you mentioned adding a secondary accessory anode rod to the traditional storage tank water heater.How do you do that? Would an installer of the tank know how to do that? And, how do you find the correct one (anode rod)?

After reading your article and many other home forums, I think I've changed my mind about getting a tankless water heater. I've been trying to search for recommendations on the traditional tanks (brands) but have not found sufficient information. Are most of them pretty much the same? Kenmore vs. Whirlpool, etc. ? Thanks, Patricia M., Pacifica, CA.

Dear Patricia: The secondary anode rod is placed in the cold water inlet portion of the heater. When shipped from the factory, the water heater has a plastic dip tube that forces the cold water to the bottom of the tank. This secondary anode rod is shaped just like the dip tube and performs the same function of sending cold water to the bottom of the heater, but it also adds another layer of electric protection to the water heater.

Any plumber worth his salt knows about these extra anode rods. If the person you are working with does not know, that tells you he is a rookie, does not pay attention to updates, and/or does not stay current with changes in the industry.

The water heater manufacturer offers these rods as an accessory. Just buy a heater that offers the accessory rod. Go to a real plumbing supply house to find one, not a home center. The heaters sold at plumbing supply houses are usually very good and for the most part let price be your guide. Better water heaters cost more money as they have better parts.


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