How to Install a Powered Anode Rod on GAHH 40 from AO Smith

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How to install a powered anode rod on GAHH 40, high-efficiency AO Smith water heater with the pressurized air chamber intake.

AO Smith GAHH-40AO Smith GAHH-40

The powered anode rod installed on the high efficient AO Smith water heater GAHH 40 is a long-lasting and reliable element as it does not sacrifice itself when protecting the metal components from corrosion. Sacrificial anodes found on most conventional types heaters deteriorate over time, but not this one; the powered anode does not require maintenance or service, but it can break.

Removing the malfunctioning anode and installing the new powered anode rod is as simple as with the standard type and does not require any special tools, except pliers, ratchet with 1-1/16” socket, and pipe sealant (Teflon tape is also good).

Instructions on how to remove and install a powered anode rod

  • Put the thermostat to its lowest setting by pressing the “cooler” button on the gas control valve/thermostat assembly.
  • Turn off the gas supply to the water heater on the main shut-off valve.
  • Unplug the unit from the power outlet.
  • Turn off the incoming water supply and open the nearby hot water tap to reduce the pressure inside the tank.
  • Use the garden hose and connect one end to the drain valve and the other end to the floor drain or outside. Drain at least 5 gallons from the heater’s tank. Close the drain valve and remove the hose.
  • Locate the powered anode rod and electrical connection at the top of the water heater. Unplug the wire connector from the anode.
  • Use the ratchet and correct socket size to unscrew the anode by turning it counterclockwise.
  • When installing the new powered anode rod, it is recommended to use the correct replacement part.
  • Use the Teflon tape or pipe sealant and apply it to the threads of the new anode.
  • Use the pliers to bend up the male electrical connector (approximately 90 deg).
  • Put the anode back into the water heater carefully, first hand-tight it, and after use the ratchet and the socket and apply the torque between 65 and 120-foot pounds.
  • Before refilling the tank, open the closest hot water faucet to clean the air from the water pipes.
  • After the anode rod was successfully installed, check for any leaks, and if there are none, reconnect the electrical plug connector to the top of the powered anode rod.
  • Resume the power by following the above steps but in reverse order.

Installation instructions

  • Turn the power off to the water heater.
  • Drain approximately 2 gallons of water on the drain valve or relief valve.
  • At the top of the water heater, remove the pipe connecting nuts from the pipe nipples using the pipe wrench.
  • Apply Teflon tape or joint compound to the heat trap before making connections and inserting the heat traps into hot and cold pipes.
  • Use the pipe wrench on the steel body of the element, not on the threads.
  • Reinstall the connecting nuts onto the pipe nipples.
  • Never apply heat directly to the fitting if the pipe connecting nuts are sweated onto the pipes.
  • Recommended are those heat traps that have a self-cleaning fitting or dielectric inert thermoplastic lining that prevents corrosion. They have a color-coded cold inlet (blue) and hot outlet (red).
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