Figuring out what kind of anode is already there

The Tank Figuring out what kind of anode is already there

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  • #21172
    kmpeters
    Participant

    Hello!

    We have a 6-year 50 gallon Whirlpool electric hot water heater that was installed by the last owners. The code indicates the manufacture date is 0122… so it’s 12-13 years old.

    It is also hooked up to our geothermal heater. We had that done two years ago, and it goes in through the bottom, and there did not seem to be too much sediment at that time, even though I do not think it had been flushed in years based on when we bought the house and the previous owners.

    In looking through this site, I just realized that the rod that is laying in our crawl space nearby (and has been there since we bought the house) is an aluminum anode. It matches the photos on this site perfectly and it is only slightly pitted.

    What I cannot figure out is WHY that pretty-good-shape aluminum anode is laying there! I looked on the top of the water heater, and what is there now does not look like either the aluminum or magnesium anode photos shown on this site. It is square, not hex, and it has SA 3/4 stamped on it.

    Here’s why I want to know…

    This hot water heater has worked perfectly… until last night. The multimeter indicates that the top heater element has quit.

    Everyone says to replace a 13-year-old heater, though no one explains why when there is no build up of sediment or leaks and it’s been working perfectly. Anyway, this one has lasted so well and so long that it makes sense to me to replace it with basically the same thing since it seemed to work well for the water and setup at this house… but I don’t know what anode rod is currently in there to make sure the new one has the same!

    Here’s a photo of the top of the heater.

    Attached files

    #21174
    Randy Schuyler
    Keymaster

    For unknown reasons, somebody either failed to install the anode or removed it and replaced it with a square plug. That’s clearly the anode port and clearly a simple plug. I have heard of other stories of water heaters lasting a long time without an anode and some are probably true, but generally, a heater without one will be gone in no time.

    Randy Schuyler

    #21175
    Larry Weingarten
    Participant

    Hello: You basically have two choices. Replace the tank so you have some certainty about it’s condition, or repair the tank, (including installing an anode, magnesium) and see if it lasts. If it does not last, you can save the anode for the next tank.

    I do wonder why someone removed the anode, though odor is a possibility.

    Yours, Larry

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