Water Heaters: When to Replace
LESLIE: John in South Carolina is having some water issues at his house. What’s going on?JOHN: Well, we’re purchasing a house that was built in 1926. It’s been added on over the years. It’s got a wonderful piece of property. The problem is it has not been occupied for a year.TOM: OK.JOHN: And we had a home inspection and the home inspector detected a strong odor of rotten eggs when he ran the hot water through the kitchen sink.TOM: (overlapping voices) Mm-hmm, right. Mm-hmm. And did he tell you what was causing that?JOHN: He suspected that there was a bacteriological problem within the hot water heater itself …TOM: (overlapping voices) Hmm, no.JOHN: … and that I needed to install a sacrificial anode and that went right over my head.TOM: Well, actually, I think it’s the opposite. I think it is the water heater anode rod. It’s a rod that is made of sort of self-sacrificing magnesium and, basically, what that’s designed to do is dissolve in certain conditions and it protects the tank from rust out but it can result in a sulfur odor.Now how old is the water heater?JOHN: Don’t know yet.TOM: Take a look at the data plate on the water heater. It almost always has the date stamped on it. If it’s close to 10 years old, replace the water heater.LESLIE: Just get a new one.TOM: Yeah, and if it’s not, you can actually remove the anode. Now that will void the water heater warranty because it won’t be protected against corrosion, but it will make the sulfur smell go away.LESLIE: So you would never replace the anode?TOM: Nah, I’d just remove it.