Do you leave the water heater anode rod installed through winter?

I drained the water heater and was wondering if it would be better to loosely reinstall the rod, or leave the opening to air out. Another option would be to stuff a little rag or something into the opening. My guess is the anode rod might continue to corrode a bit due to evaporation of the remaining water in the tank. Thanks for your input.


Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
I would drain my water heater and leave the anode out for a couple days, then screw the anode in about half the threads, leave for the winter and in the spring I would replace the anode.


Staff member
Gold Supporting Member
Dec 22, 2002
Southeastern PA
Good question.

I would say leave it in after draining the tank, mainly to keep the water heater closed. I replace the anode rod every year now when I de-winterize so corrosions isn't an issue.


Super Active Member
Jul 30, 2008
I don't have a rod, but do have a plug. I put it back in a couple of threads...Imagine what kinda problems you would have on your hands if a mouse decided to move in your WH for the winter.


Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
I left mine in one year, but I didnt wait untill the tank was compleatly dry. The rod was disintagrated and was not sitting in water. I clean up the treads, oil them ( yes, its not drinking water) and stuff a rag in the hole now. Hot water, just like at home should not be drank or cooked with. Will it kill you probably not, but all the sediments are in the hot water tanks. Best to only shower and wash with it.


Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
Albuquerque, NM
Out HWT has an anode rod. We give it a good rinse when we winterize, let it drain as much as possible, and eventually put the anode back in very loosely.
We dutifully bought a new anode soon after we bought the TT inthe fall of 2014, and carried it around in the tool kit, "just in case". We finally opted to use the replacement at the start of this season, the whole rod wasn't all eroded, but it was very eroded right next to the plug - we had visions of it breaking off on a bumpy road, so figured replacement time had arrived.


Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
If you can't drink from your home hot water tank, you should fix that. :)
Not really, they all say to run and drink the cold. Ever drain your hot water heater at home? Your supose to do it every year. You would be suprised at the sedament.


Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
Oh, it just costs more to run. The burner just heats up the sediment first. But exactly. May work or may not. No one does it. ( I have but not yearly. And I have a holding tank now so its diffrent. Indirect water heating off the furnace.).


Active Member
May 29, 2016
Mt. Wachusett area, MA
Anode rod: I inspect mine during the winter drain process, but re-tape it and fully thread it (or a new one) in to have one less step in the spring.

Does the process of heating di-hydrogen oxide molecules, consisting of hydrogen and oxygen, somehow turn those in solid sediment?
No? Then from where does the sediment come? The sediment is a contaminant in the water before being heated, meaning sediment is also in the unheated water, and somehow, hot sediment is unsafe to drink, but cool sediment is not a concern. Really?
Any sediment that collects in hot water storage tank actually means there is LESS sediment in the water exiting the storage tank. If the sediment is a reason to not drink the water, drinking the hot water with sediment separated out is 'safer' than drinking the cold water that has no sediment removed by time and gravity. *
The accumulated sediment, if any, at the base of the storage tank has more mass-density than the liquid water, that's why the sediment sinks to the bottom. Due to the increased density the sediment acts as a thermal mass as well. Yes, more energy is needed to heat a cubic volume of higher density sediment than an equivalent volume of lesser density water, but that sediment also holds heat longer to offset the longer heating duration.
*I'm referring to dissolved compounds in the incoming water, not compounds (lead, copper, phthalates) leached from the plumbing into the water.