black sooty stuff - anode rod?
I have black sooty-type stuff stuck on the nozzles of my shower head, which developed about 6 or 8 months ago. I installed a shower head water filter, but the black sooty stuff has returned. I installed a new shower head, but I know the black sooty stuff will return. A friend told me the anode rod in my water heater probably needs to be replaced. Might this be accurate?
My hot water heater is an AO Smith brand, model FPSH 40/252. I believe it was installed when my house was built, around 2001. There is a "blower" securely installed on top of the heater which prevents easy access to the anode rod.
I don't like the black sooty stuff and would like to replace the anode rod. Another post from a couple of years ago indicated that AO Smith makes a sectional link anode rod that can be easily installed below the hot water nipple, and the original anode rod doesn't need to be removed.
Is there a similar alternative to replacing the anode rod in my water heater model?
I'm handy enough to change an anode rod, but not brave enough to dismantle a "blower" and re-install it!