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Thread: Advise on Anode rod

  1. #1
    DIY Senior Member billfig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    upstate NY

    Default Advise on Anode rod

    Hi & Happy Holidays! I installed a new 40gal 9yr GE (rheem) electric tank exactly 2 mos ago. Our water has recently(3-4 wks) been getting nasty with an ubtrusive sulpher smell, so I called rheem & she said "well system? add a chlorinator". I asked about a "different" anode rod & she said an upgraded zinc/aluminum but I'd have to pay for it(US craftmaster did this for free last one)? So I had a 2 mos old zinc/alum anode I put in tonight. I flushed the tank & ran a 1/2 cup of bleach thru tank and then flushed again. Everything seems great now! wondering if all this was correct and how long ya think the anode will keep doing its job? I had my water tested at 28g hardness 25 yrs ago and seems probably the same? I was surprised just how much the 2 mos used zinc/alum had corroded in that time too?? Thanks for your expert opinions! The pics show mag rod in background & zinc/alum in foreground. Oh there was that greenish area towards the top on the magnesium rod I took out, what is that?
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  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member Reach4's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    The best anode rod for that purpose would be a powered anode. Not cheap (almost $250 with shipping), but its better than zinc or aluminum at protection, and it is longer-lived.

    However I then put in a nice backwashing filter that took care of both sulfur and iron. It's great. I don't know to what extent the powered anode alone would have cure the sulfur smell, but the filter takes out that sulfur.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    For maximum life, (and most people won't do it) you need to check and replace the sacrificial anode before it is mostly eaten away. So, it's a tossup for the cost of replacing them periodically, or just do what most people do, and replace the entire WH when it starts to rust and leak. Hard water is an electrical conductor, and ions will be exchanged. The idea of the sacrificial anode is that it is more reactive than the metal you are trying to protect, and it gets eaten first. WHen it's gone, then the tank starts to be eaten. How soon that happens depends on how well the liner survived the manufacturing, shipping, and install process.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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