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How long to replace the anode A.O. Smith gas water heater?

The time it takes to replace the anode rod in an A.O. Smith gas water heater can vary depending on your level of experience, the accessibility of the water heater, and any unforeseen complications that may arise during the process. Generally, if you have the necessary tools and materials ready and you're familiar with the procedure, it can take approximately 1 to 2 hours to replace the anode rod. Here's a breakdown of the steps involved in the process and factors that can influence the time required:

1. Preparation (5-10 minutes):
Gathering the necessary tools and materials, as well as turning off the gas supply and water supply to the water heater, can take about 5-10 minutes. It's essential to ensure your safety and have all the required items on hand before starting.
2. Draining the water heater (15-30 minutes):
Draining the water heater is a critical step in the process. It can take 15-30 minutes or more, depending on the size of your water heater and the water pressure. Larger heaters may take longer to drain fully.
3. Accessing the anode rod (10-20 minutes):
Accessing the anode rod may involve removing insulation or pipes, which can take 10-20 minutes. The accessibility of the anode rod can significantly impact this step's duration.
4. Removing the old anode rod (10-20 minutes):
Loosening and removing the old anode rod can take 10-20 minutes. Sometimes, the rod may be tightly secured and require more effort to remove.
5. Preparing the new anode rod (5-10 minutes):
Wrapping the threads of the new anode rod with Teflon tape or applying pipe thread sealant typically takes 5-10 minutes. Properly preparing the new anode rod ensures a good seal.
6. Installing the new anode rod (10-15 minutes):
Installing the new anode rod usually takes 10-15 minutes. It involves threading the rod into place and ensuring it's snug but not over-tightened.
7. Reconnecting and refilling (15-30 minutes):
Reconnecting any pipes or insulation and refilling the water heater can take 15-30 minutes, depending on your setup and the time it takes for the tank to fill.
8. Re-lighting the pilot light (5-10 minutes):
If your gas water heater has a pilot light, relighting it can take 5-10 minutes. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
9. Checking for leaks and testing (10-15 minutes):
Checking for leaks and running the water heater for a brief period to ensure proper operation and no signs of leaks can take 10-15 minutes.
10. Cleanup and disposal (5-10 minutes):
Cleaning up your workspace, disposing of any old parts, and ensuring everything is in order can take 5-10 minutes.

In total, the process can take approximately 1 to 2 hours, but this is a rough estimate. The actual time may vary based on your familiarity with the task, the specific water heater model, and any unexpected issues that may arise. It's important not to rush through the process to ensure everything is done correctly and safely.

If you're unsure about any part of the process or encounter difficulties, it's advisable to consult the A.O. Smith water heater manual or seek the assistance of a professional plumber to ensure the anode rod replacement is performed accurately and safely.
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