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Water Heater Anode Rod: Hard to Remove

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’re welcoming Tim from Illinois to The Money Pit with a water-heating question. What’s going on?

    TIM: Oh, I have a nine-year-old water tank and I’m trying to get the rod that collects all the minerals out and it didn’t want to come, so I was afraid to have busted some pipes. So I was curious, should I just – should leave it alone? And with it being nine years old, it’s almost at the end of its life as far as the water tank. Because I understand that water tanks are usually from 8 to 12 years for a replacement?

    TOM: Yeah. So you’re – you’ve been trying to replace the anode and having a hard time getting it out, correct?

    TIM: Yeah. I think it’s rusted-in or I …

    TOM: Sometimes, you have to put – get a little leverage on the wrench to do that. And once you get the wrench on the anode, sometimes you have to kind of extend that wrench handle to really get that out. It’s a bit of a tricky job. But considering the age of the tank, I probably wouldn’t spend much money on it, because I think you’re right: 10, 12 years is a pretty average life expectancy for a standard water heater.

    And when it comes time to replace the water heater, you might even decide to upgrade it and go with a tankless water heater, which is going to last you a lot longer and be far more efficient.

    TIM: And that might be a good choice for me, because I’m single and no one else lives in my household and I’m gone most of the time.

    TOM: Yeah, well, that’s the difference between the tankless water heater and a standard water heater: the water heater is kind of dumb. It just – it heats the water 24-7 whether you need it or not and when the water cools down, it comes back on and heats it some more.

    A tankless water heater is going to heat on demand. And so because that’s going to be a lot more efficient for a single guy – but even a big family with teenage daughters, for example, that don’t know the meaning of a short shower, they never run out of hot water when they have tankless. Could just – works very well in both extremes.

    TIM: So how much is something like – cost for installation and so forth?

    TOM: Well, if you compare it against a high-efficiency, tanked water heater, it’s similar. But if you compare it against a standard, sort of low-efficiency, it’s probably going to be about twice as much. But it will last longer, too, and you’re going to save money on the energy bills, too.

    TIM: I thank you for your time. I love your show and your advice is well worth listening to.

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