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Maintaining proper water heating and filtration in your home is important for your household. Sometimes the anode rod breaks down or deteriorates. When this happens, you should know how often to change the anode rod in a water filter. In this article, we will discuss this process, including how an anode rod functions and how to inspect one.

How Often to Change the Anode Rod in a Water Filter

You must change your water heater anode rod about once every six years when it is operating under normal working conditions. This can vary depending on the mineral composition of your water. As an example, if your water has a lot of salt, the anode rod might degrade quickly; sometimes within six months.

Detailed Anode Rod Maintenance

Corrosion in Water Heaters

The biggest issue for water heaters is corrosion. While in water, metal will gradually corrode; this process speeds up in hot water. In time, the metal of the water tank will weaken and be unable to contain the water anymore.

What Is the Anode Rod Exactly?

Modern water heaters have a mechanism called the anode rod, otherwise called a sacrificial rod. This long, narrow pipe serves as an effective corrosion deterrent. It is suspended inside the water tank and affixed from the top. Usually made of aluminum, zinc, or magnesium; these metals are all more susceptible to corrosion than steel alloys.In theory, corrosion influences vulnerable metals first. The anode rod experiences the initial deterioration, extending the life of the water tank. If the anode rod is already rusted, it can’t preserve the water tank and your whole hot water system suffers. This is why it is essential to know how often to change anode rod in water filter. There are also tips and tricks to inspecting an anode rod discussed below.

How Often Should You Change the Anode Rod?

An anode rod usually lasts four to six years. If your water is very hard and full of minerals, expect your anode rod to last as little as six months. For water tanks that use a lower water temperature, the life expectancy can be longer.Routinely checking the anode rod is a crucial part of a water heater’s maintenance. The initial check should be when the heater is two or three years old. How your anode rod behaves over time will also tell you about the water in your filtration system.

Anode Rod Inspection

Water Tank Shutoff

To check the condition of the anode rod, you will need to remove it from the water tank. To do so, turn off the water heater’s power; try the circuit breaker or an individual switch box. Second, close the cold water shutoff valve, opening a nearby hot water faucet. This allows the pressure inside the water tank to balance. Draw off a few gallons of water to remove any remaining fluid from the pipes. The tank doesn’t need to be individually drained.

Removing the Anode Rod

With the tank off and drained, the anode can be removed safely. The connection port is on top of the water heater, threaded into the tank. It could also be under a cap this needs to be pried off. With a wrench or socket, turn it counter-clockwise until it is loose. Some water may leak out as you do this. Carefully remove the rod upwards. Be cautious not to knock the anode rod against the sides of the tank.


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Examine the anode rod. If you see some pitting and surface corrosion, then that is normal. If significant chunks of metal are missing or portions of the rod are damaged, that means you should consider replacing it with a quality option.


When you have your new anode rod, slowly slide the rod back into the hole of the water tank. Tighten it with Teflon tape or another securing material. Now that the anode rod is secured in the tank, open the cold water valve. Allow the water level in the tank to fill; this is indicated when the water flows freely from the nearest hot water faucet. Finally, turn the power to the water heater on.


lady having a hot bath in a bathtub

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Maintaining your anode rod is essential to the life of your water heater. Understanding how an anode rod works, how to inspect one, and its function in water heaters will save you time and money in the long-term.

Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API