How to Remove an Anode Rod From an A.O. Smith Water Heater

Producing their first residential water heater in 1939, A.

O. Smith continues to be a leading manufacturer of the devices. One of the features on water heaters, including an A. O. Smith, is the sacrificial anode rod. The rod is a tube of metal that helps to protect the inner walls of the water heater tank by attracting water contaminates. The anode rod requires inspection every three years. Removing an anode rod from an A. O. Smith water heater is similar to the way it's done on most brands.

Find the circuit breaker and turn off the power to the water heater, if you have an electric unit. If you have a gas unit, turn off the gas valve at the bottom of the tank. Find the cold water shut-off valve above the tank and turn it clockwise to stop the water supply to the A.O. Smith water heater.

Turn on the hot water faucet nearest to the water heater. Allow the water to run for five minutes and turn the faucet off. This allows some drainage of the water from the tank.

Locate the hex nut top of the anode rod on the top of the water heater. The anode rod is usually near the two water lines at the top of the unit.

Turn the hex nut top of the anode rod counterclockwise with a 1 1/16-inch socket wrench. If possible, have a friend hold the tank steady as you turn the hex nut. It might be necessary to use a steel tube breaker bar over the handle of your socket wrench for extra leverage.

Continue turning the anode rod until it is completely free from the threads in the tank. Lift the anode rod slowly out of the tank.

Things You Will Need

  • Socket wrench with 1 1/16-inch deep well socket
  • Helper
  • Breaker bar

Tips

  • Replacement anode rods are available at plumbing-supply stores and home-improvement centers.
  • If a replacement is necessary, measure the height of your tank and purchase a rod that is 6 inches shorter.

Warning

  • Wear leather gloves or heavy-duty cloth work gloves when lifting the anode rod out of the tank. The water in the tank is scalding hot.

About the Author

Kenneth Crawford is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. His work has appeared in both print and online publications, including "The American Chronicle." Crawford holds an associate degree in business administration from Commonwealth College.