It's disappointing when you're ready for a long, hot bath and the water coming out of your tub has a foul odor and dark color. You may be afraid to bathe in the water thinking it's contaminated. Call a plumber to diagnose the problem and fix it. A bad anode rod could be why your water is discolored and foul-smelling. If so, your plumber must replace the rod. Here's how this residential water heater repair might be done.

Disconnect Power And Drain The Water

The plumber starts by disconnecting the power to the water heater and draining part of the water. If the tank hasn't been flushed in a while, this is also a good time to flush the tank. If the anode rod has been bad for a while, there may be more sediment than usual in the tank, and that's what causes discoloration. Flushing gets rid of sediment and rust so the water is clean again.

The purpose of an anode rod is that it attracts corrosion to keep the inside of your tank from rusting. The anode rod sacrifices itself so it's expected to go bad at some point, and when it does, it should be changed promptly or rust could build up inside the tank.

Replace The Bad Rod

The best-case scenario is that the rod is still in one piece and can be pulled out of the tank easily. When that happens, the rod is pulled out and a new one is put in. This is an easy water heater repair. The plumber just has to find the right anode rod to replace the bad one and then find the port to pull the rod out. The repairs become more complicated if the rod has broken and fallen into the water.

Deal With A Broken Anode Rod

An anode rod usually has a steel core and a coating of aluminum or some other material. If the coating is in place, the rod may not be magnetic. If the coating is worn off, the plumber might be able to fish the rod out of the tank with a magnet. If that doesn't work, they could try to use a weight with a hook to snag the line and pull it out.

However, it's possible the plumber won't be able to get the rod to the top of the tank, or if they do, they may not be able to get it out of the port on top where the rod is inserted. The plumber may need to leave the old broken part of the rod in the water heater and allow it to finish crumbling apart. When this happens, you may be advised to flush the heater every couple of months or more often until all the bits of the rod are gone and the water runs clear. The plumber still needs to put in a new rod even if the old one is left in the water.

To learn more, contact a plumbing service in your area such as Mr. Waterheater.