Begin by shutting off the gas or electricity, then drain off a couple of gallons of water using the drain valve near the bottom of the heater. Be sure to open all over- head faucets to release any trapped water. Use a 1-1/16-inch socket and long bar to break the heater’s grip in the old anode. This will be an iron-to-iron connection, so expect it to require some exer- tion. It’s best to have a helper to grip the water lines just above the heater, so you don’t end up rotat- ing the heater as you break the connection. If all else fails, heat the tank fitting with a propane torch and try again. Some of these connec- tions are harder than others, but they’re usually manageable. Thread the rod up and out of the heater. Expect the spent rod to be completely corroded.
￼ Before installing the replace- ment rod, apply a light coating of pipe-joint compound to the first three threads, then tighten the rod in place. ￼You’ll need a little joint com- pound to seat the rod, but don’t overdo it. The anode will need direct electrolytic contact with the tank to work effectively, and too
much compound can interfere with that connection. With the anode in place, turn the water back on and restore gas or electricity.
While you’re at it, test your heater’s T&P valve. Lift the release lever until water flows, then let the valve snap shut. If little or no water escapes, or the valve continues to drip, replace it. A working T&P valve is an essential safety feature on every heater. As always, if you feel your- self getting in over your head, call a licensed plumber.
Editor's Note: Merle Henkenius is a freelance writer and photo- grapher who specializes in home improvement articles and books. He is a licensed master plumber, but has hands- on experience in nearly every phase of construction.
Unlike tank-style heaters, tankless gas water heaters are more energy-effi- cient than conventional because they eliminate the need to continually heat a large supply of water. Also called on-demand water heaters, water enters the tankless water heater only when the hot water valve is opened, which triggers the heating coils or heat exchanger. The amount of energy consumed is propor- tional to the volume of hot water used. This energy-saving advantage is what makes tankless units today’s most popular “green” hot water solution. Furthermore, no matter how many showerheads, and no matter how deep the whirlpool, homeowners will not run out of hot water if using a properly sized tankless heater. The compact size of a tankless unit is another benefit. The bulk of the tradi- tional tank-style units comes from the tank itself; so no tank, no bulk. About the size of a medicine cabinet, tankless water heaters can easily be wall- mounted indoors or outdoors, depending on the climate. This affords the ability to place a tankless water heater closer to the point of use, which solves the problem of a long wait for hot water. Plus, tankless water heaters afford homeowners more control over water tem- perature. The latest tankless heaters often feature advanced microprocessor control that allows the exact water temperature to be set via a button or dial, including a digital display for Fahrenheit or Celsius. This ensures the water tempera- ture will not deviate from the set point. ADVANTAGES OF TANKLESS WATER HEATERS