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Removing Anode Rods for a Bock Water Heater

There are several ways to get anode rods out of the water heater, but always using an anti-seize compound on the rod threads before putting them back in will make it easier to get them out the next time.

Drain a small amount of water from the heater after shutting off its electricity and cold water supply. Don't drain the water to below the T & P valve, as the water's weight will help keep the tank from moving while you work on loosing the rods.

Bock Water Heaters suggests using a 1/2" drive breaker bar with a 1 1/6" socket. The breaker bar is preferable to a ratchet wrench, as it's longer and won't slip. If the anodes haven't been removed for some time, a "plumber's helper" (a pipe 1" in diameter and 3' long) fitted over the handle of the breaker bar will work every time.

Before trying to loosen the anode rods, use a rust devolving spay on them - WD40 works nicely. If you're pressed for time, a product called "PB Blaster" (available at most automotive stores) works the best.

Before trying to loosen the rods, lift the vent piping from the heater flue outlet just far enough to expose two large holes in the flue. These holes will accept a 3/4" solid bar about 3' to 4' long, which will be used as a lever to help break the anodes loose.

Some contractors who normally replace anode rods during their annual service of customers' water heaters are using electric impact drills, which are relatively inexpensive and available at stores such as Sears, Lowe's, and Home Depot.

After removing the old rods, drain and flush the tank. Before installing the new rods, fill the tank at least three-quarters full to help in tightening down the new rods. And do NOT use Teflon tape on the rods, as it acts as an insulator and makes them useless.

Bock Water Heaters

Information Source: Bock Water Heaters