Practically every tank-type water heater in use today has a sacrificial anode of magnesium or aluminum that helps keep a heater from rusting out. But being sacrificial, they get used up, and if you don’t replace them, your water heater eventually rusts out. Here we have hex-head and combo anodes in both solid and flexible variants.
Solid combo anodes are 48 inches long, while hexes are 44 and you need that much overhead clearance. The flexible variant is good down to 12 inches of clearance. Hex anodes require a 1 and 1/16-inch socket, while combos require a pipe wrench for installation.
Also, if you’re not sure what you need, buy a consultation. If you buy what we recommend within ten days, we’ll refund the fee.
And if you’re a plumber, you can buy Larry Weingarten’s anode extractor, below right, which he created with an industrial torque multiplier. Each turn you make with a socket turns the anode hex nut a third of a turn, but with 3.5 times more force than you used. The ratchet and sockets aren’t included. We assume you’ll have those.
Notice the brass “foot.” That’s a custom piece that permits you to brace against a pipe nipple and use the tank itself for leverage. This is an expensive tool, but allows you to remove anodes in tight spaces without electricity.
- Solid hex-head magnesium anode, SKU8, $34
- Flexible hex-head magnesium anode, SKU10, $46
- Solid combo magnesium anode with 6-inch nipple, SKU6, $44
- Solid combo magnesium anode with 4-inch nipple, SKU7, $39
- Flexible combo magnesium anode with 4-inch nipple, SKU9, $47
- Anode Extractor, SKU26, $700
- Consulting, SKU50, $41