Q&A: Changing Cathodic Anodes in Water Heaters
Q. I read your column on changing cathodic anodes in water heaters. I passed this information on to friends who told me that it is impossible to remove and anode rod from a water heater that is older than four years of age. I helped a friend install a new water heater and this person is as strong as Atlas. He used levers, wrenches and oils and could not get the hex nut to the anode loose. I suggest you both try this and if successful, please let me know how you did it.
A. Including our homes and our business buildings we own and maintain six water heaters. We have changed the cathodic anode in five of them. There are two tricks that you ‘must’ remember. Cutting oil (not regular oil) must be applied directly onto the thread joint at the base of the hex nut. Also, a long pipe must be used as a handle extension on a very strong wrench. The pipe should be about 36 inches long and should fit snugly over the wrench handle. To prevent it from being difficult to remove next time, loosen the nut every two years or so to keep it from freezing up. And, good luck!