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I have a 50 gallon gas AO Smith water heater (power vent unit). About 13 months ago, had the annode rod replaced by the company that installed it. Specifically requested the "sausage link" kind since the ceiling height is only 7' (to bottom of joists), so obviously they had to tip the tank/etc. to get the old one out.
anyway, not sure which kind they used (magnesium vs. aluminum). BTW, it fixed the "air" in the hot water line issue that showed up about 2.5 years after the water heat was installed.
So I was quite proud of myself (ha!) as I was able to replace the annode rod myself (I ordered an aluminum one from Amazon). I figured since I already had the thing "apart" to check the old one, might as well replace it, right?
Anyway, here's what the old one looked like. Now, according to the manual, it should be replaced if you can see the wire that holds it together (although obviously being the sausage link kind, you can see those little parts), or if the rod is less than 3/8" in diameter. I don't believe either one was the case, but it looked really pitted, so again, figured I might as well replace it. Did I do the right thing? (although I don't suppose you can go "wrong" by replacing it too soon).
Have a water softener, BTW. Our town reports 12 grains of hardness, I have it set to 7 grains. Definitely helps with the calcium buildup we experienced after moving in for a few years until I bought the softener.
no harm done
that is what they look like while in service
they erode continuously until no 'anode material' remains, merely the central wire 'carrier'
3/8" OD sounds like a good guide
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