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Plumbing in the Home/Anode replacement in water heater; needed?


Our water heater (gas fired) is 7 years old. I have a lot of fine particles coming down the pipe that are clogging the fine screen filters at lavatories, shower, and kitchen sink. Should I have already replace the sacrificial anode in the water tank?

Or is it likely something else? The particles appear translucent amber when wet, and when dry can be easily crushed to a white powder in my hand.

TIA for any and all help.

Hi Frank,
The anode rod, (also called a "sacrificial anode" because it corrodes instead of the tank) may not be the source of these fine particles. Particulate matter in water can come from many many sources. One source is from older piping systems shedding built up mineral deposits and rust. Another source could just be junk in your incoming water stream from whatever your source is. You might consider adding a whole house filter to the head end of the system.

As for changing the anode rod, good luck with that. It is possible, I have done it a time or two myself but that job is a real bear. Even with the proper tools such as the proper sized socket wrench and a very large breaker bar, it is almost impossible to break anode rod loose so that it can be removed. You also have to have sufficient room above the water heater (typically 30+ inches) to remove and replace it. Many tmes, this is not the case without draining the water heater, disconnecting it and laying it on its side. It is also difficult to get enough purchase on the heater itself to hold it steady and counter the turning of the anode rod nut.
Good Luck,

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Dana Bostick


Pretty much any residential plumbing questions. For "item specific" details such as a specific model of fixture, I will need to research and there may not be any useful information available. Note: I live and work in Southern California. We do not, as a rule, use hot water or steam heating systems, oil fired boilers or private water wells so my knowledge in those areas is pretty limited. There are others here on AllExerts that can probably answer those questions better.


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