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

  1. #16
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    It is a bit like a puzzle- you need to look at what is where and determine which way will be easiest to move the blower enough to access the rod. The fitting on the hot side would be the easiest to remove without risking disturbing any of the other joints. If the heat trap breaks off when you try to unscrew it from the top of the heater, then you have another problem. I'm shocked to see you are still going ahead with this give all the feedback from the pros. I would speculate that 97% of all water heaters do not get an anode rod replaced during their time in service.

    One thing that would be good for you to do is to buy a couple of fittings and a section of pipe to do some practice solder sweating copper. There are a million good "how to" articles and videos on the web for reference. The most important rule is not to burn the house down. It's harder to put out the fire when you have the water shut off too.

  2. #17
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Cool I totally forgot about that

    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    It is a bit like a puzzle- you need to look at what is where and determine which way will be easiest to move the blower enough to access the rod. The fitting on the hot side would be the easiest to remove without risking disturbing any of the other joints. If the heat trap breaks off when you try to unscrew it from the top of the heater, then you have another problem. I'm shocked to see you are still going ahead with this give all the feedback from the pros. I would speculate that 97% of all water heaters do not get an anode rod replaced during their time in service.

    One thing that would be good for you to do is to buy a couple of fittings and a section of pipe to do some practice solder sweating copper. There are a million good "how to" articles and videos on the web for reference. The most important rule is not to burn the house down. It's harder to put out the fire when you have the water shut off too.



    I totally forgot about burning down the house from a fire...
    of course that could happen days or weeks after the actual job is
    completed if something goes wrong with the fan or system....

    something else is wrenching and tiwsting on that heater with a cheater bar
    to break offf the gas lilne....

    Every one we have ever attempted to do , their was always a guy working the

    cheater bar and the wrench and another guy holding the water heater in place so
    it did not move ...

    hope it all goes well for you.

  3. #18
    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    An update from OP:

    Finally got around to work on this again yesterday. With a little more will power (and muscle), I was able to slip off the rubber seal that connects the blower unit to the 3" flue pipe to remove the blower and get access to the top of the heater. This was the least invasive way and I did not have to desolder or remove any of the pipes.

    My buddy used a ratchet with a 4 foot breaker bar while I hugged the heater tight. The breaker bar made a world of difference and required little effort to untighten the anode.

    It was a little difficult to remove the anode rod upwards, gripping with both hands but slipping because of the Calcium deposits. The rod was caked with chalky calcium (we have hard water). There were a few sections of the rod where it looks like something took a bite out of it (but not enough to break it). However, the rod seemed to be in pretty good physical condition (but for the calcium).

    One question is the original rod was at least twice as long as the replacement rod I ordered (only 16"). Should I be concerned?

    Is there a way to scrape off the calcium in the future off of this 16" rod as a maintenance task?

  4. #19
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    They make segmented replacement anode rods...there's a thin section between full-diameter lengths so you can bend it if you don't have enough vertical height. That short one may not last all that long, but then, while replacing one does help, the tanks still wear out, and it may not make that much difference after the first time.

    Bathing the old anode in something like CLR or even vinegar would disolve the mineral deposits....not sure what it would do to the anode, though.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  5. #20
    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    Thanks for your post. Yes, I knew they made the segmented version of the rod but I have enough clearance up above so I did not need to buy the segmented version.

    Question is how long will the short one last (i.e., six-months? a year before it's caked over again?) Because the unit is on the first floor in a townhouse, having the tank leak would be disasterous.

  6. #21
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    All tanks leak sooner or later. If a leak would be a disaster the heater should be sitting in a properly installed drainage pan.

  7. #22
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    One thing I'd consider in your situation is a WAG valve...you must have either a pan underneath the heater, or be able to add a dam around it. The valve gets plumbed into the supply water, and if a gas unit, the gas control. If the water level rises to about 1/2" in the pan because of a leak, the valve shuts the WH inlet water supply off and disables the gas valve. You could use that switch to trigger an alarm, if you wanted, instead. If installed by a trained installer, they also give you a free property damage insurance plan. It should be enough if the pan is plumbed properly to a working drain. http://www.taco-hvac.com/products.ht...nt_category=65
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #23
    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    All tanks leak sooner or later. If a leak would be a disaster the heater should be sitting in a properly installed drainage pan.
    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    One thing I'd consider in your situation is a WAG valve...you must have either a pan underneath the heater, or be able to add a dam around it. The valve gets plumbed into the supply water, and if a gas unit, the gas control. If the water level rises to about 1/2" in the pan because of a leak, the valve shuts the WH inlet water supply off and disables the gas valve. You could use that switch to trigger an alarm, if you wanted, instead. If installed by a trained installer, they also give you a free property damage insurance plan. It should be enough if the pan is plumbed properly to a working drain. http://www.taco-hvac.com/products.ht...nt_category=65
    Thanks for the ideas. I'm definitely going to look into the pan the next time the heater is swapped out. There is a drainage pipe and when I used the valve on the side of the tank to bleed out the air, the water drained into the pipe through a clear tube. So that drainage pipe, I'm guessing, could work with a pan.

    Question about the WAG: Is this a one-use device? In other words, is the dissolveable fiber element replaceable or do you have to replace the whole device?

  9. #24
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleEagle View Post
    Question about the WAG: Is this a one-use device? In other words, is the dissolveable fiber element replaceable or do you have to replace the whole device?
    Think of it as an airbag...I'm pretty sure it's a one-time use thing. Once the spring and seat get wet, I don't think they could guarantee it to work again if it was rebuilt...maybe, I'm not sure. You can retrofit a dam around the existing WH, but that only works on a slab. Otherwise, you need a pan whose outlet will allow enough water to pool before it drains to trigger the thing (about 1/2"). It uses the same thing as the emergency floatation vests in airplanes...they sit around (hopefully) unused for years before needed...when it hits the water, it opens the valve to the CO2 cartridge to inflate the thing once it (quickly) dissolves the pellet that normally stops the trigger mechanism.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  10. #25
    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Think of it as an airbag...I'm pretty sure it's a one-time use thing. Once the spring and seat get wet, I don't think they could guarantee it to work again if it was rebuilt...maybe, I'm not sure. You can retrofit a dam around the existing WH, but that only works on a slab. Otherwise, you need a pan whose outlet will allow enough water to pool before it drains to trigger the thing (about 1/2"). It uses the same thing as the emergency floatation vests in airplanes...they sit around (hopefully) unused for years before needed...when it hits the water, it opens the valve to the CO2 cartridge to inflate the thing once it (quickly) dissolves the pellet that normally stops the trigger mechanism.
    Got it, thanks. And I thought you had to blow into the vests on the airplanes to inflate them. Isn't that what they show you on the safety video?

  11. #26
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DoubleEagle View Post
    Got it, thanks. And I thought you had to blow into the vests on the airplanes to inflate them. Isn't that what they show you on the safety video?
    blowing in is the emergency backup or if you need more air in there...both the emergency light and the initial/partial activation pretty much happens when it hits the water (some versions may differ, but that's the general plan).
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #27
    DIY Junior Member DoubleEagle's Avatar
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    By the way, here are pictures of the rod removed from the 8-year old tank.

    Name:  Anode Rod 01.jpg
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    Name:  Anode Rod 02.jpg
Views: 82
Size:  41.9 KB

  13. #28
    Master Plumber master plumber mark's Avatar
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    Default so why did you change it??

    most of the rod is still intact and there is plenty of life left on it....

    I suggest that you save the rod, or maybe better yet you ought
    to re-peat this whole process and re-install that one cause it is good
    for at least another 5 years...

    and just save the new one you bought or sell it on craigs list.....

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