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Thread: Removing Blower to Change Anode on A.O. Smith Powershot 50 100

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    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    Default Removing Blower to Change Anode on A.O. Smith Powershot 50 100

    I ordered a new aluminum anode for my 8 year old A.O. Smith Powershot 50 100 and hoped to change it yesterday. I unscrewed the 4 screws on top attaching the blower unit to the heater, removed the two clamps on the rubber transition that connects the exhaust of the blower unit (2" diameter) to a 3" white PVC tube that goes up (see pic). Name:  IMG_20130217_174949.jpg
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    After doing this, however, there was insufficient space to lift the blower unit over the top of the water heater because the PVC tube was fixed and in the way; it's cemented to an elbow which goes into the ceiling and there is no wiggle room. There is also a metal bracket on top of the hole in the heater. See second pic. Name:  IMG_20130217_175002.jpg
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    A friend (not a plumber) suggested I temporarily remove a 3" cross-section of the PVC tube, which will free up some room. Then I would buy a 3" to 3" rubber seal to reconnect the PVC tube when I'm done.

    Looking for the forum's suggestions on how else to proceed. Have you encountered this situation where there is no room to remove the blower? Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Cutting the PVC pipe and then re-assembling with a proper PVC coupling is one option. It might also be feasible to cut one of the copper lines and remove the pipe from the heater so that the blower can move sideways enough to get at the anode rod.

    Standard plumbing rubber banded couplings are not approved for that use. The flue gas can damage some materials. An HVAC supply might have something that is, but I not aware of one.
    Last edited by cacher_chick; 02-18-2013 at 09:32 AM.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The first picture shows the blower flush with the top of the heater, but the second one shows the anode rod projecting above the top of the heater. Does the blower cover the anode rod, and if so how do the two fit together. There are also anode rods that screw into the heater's hot water outlet opening.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    The first picture shows the blower flush with the top of the heater, but the second one shows the anode rod projecting above the top of the heater. Does the blower cover the anode rod, and if so how do the two fit together. There are also anode rods that screw into the heater's hot water outlet opening.
    The blower normally sits flush on top of the heater and covers the anode rod opening. If I understand your question correctly, the blower is attached to the top of the heater by four screws. The second picture shows the blower after removal of the screws and lifted up on one side; the other side can't be lifted because of the PVC pipe pushing down on it. As a result, I am unable to get enough clearance over the anode rod to remove it. Also, the replacement aluminum rod I received was only 16"... seems short to me.

    By the way, is there a way to avoid removing the hot or cold water openings since it appears they have been soldered to the pipes above and would require re-soldering? Thanks again.

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    I suppose if you were 100% against the idea of soldering, you could cut out a section of copper and then re-attach it with a sharkbite fitting when you are done.

    You are going through hoops to change an anode rod on a heater that could fail regardless.

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    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    I suppose if you were 100% against the idea of soldering, you could cut out a section of copper and then re-attach it with a sharkbite fitting when you are done.

    You are going through hoops to change an anode rod on a heater that could fail regardless.
    Not being in the trade, I had to search for what a sharkbite fitting is. I think it's a good suggestion because it would allow for future accessibility to the top of the heater (in case I need to change another anode rod if the heater lasts me another 7 years). In a "why'd they do that" moment, I do not understand how the builder expected people to change the anode rods.

    The question is whether to work on the hot or cold water pipe (and which segment to remove and replace with the coupler). Here is a picture of the hot side:Name:  IMG-20130218-00102.jpg
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    The hot side looks more amenable for a straight coupler. To further prolong the life of the heater, maybe I should install an additional rod under the hot water pipe (as HJ has suggested)?

    Here is a picture of the cold side: Name:  IMG-20130218-00103.jpg
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    Thanks again.

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