I have a water heater installed 4 years ago that I want to change the anode rod on. This water heater has the anode rod combined with the outlet nipple. I went to change it but it is hard piped to the water supply, preventing me from easily removing the anode rod. Picture below if it does any good.

What is my best route forward? I would like to plan on changing the anode rod every few years so this isn't a one time thing. I guess I could get a CPVC to brass MIP adapter:


and then a flex line. I hear that flex lines are prone to random leaks and sometimes not allowed to code.

Are there any other routes other than cutting the CPVC every few years and redoing the connection?

Hot water outlet

  • Changing the anode at regular intervals seems like such a good idea, but for some reason few people seem to do it. It may be the "don't fix, replace" mentality, or there may be some reason why it doesn't work out in practice. Commented Dec 4, 2016 at 22:21
  • Twenty-five years ago I tried and failed to remove the anode rod on my gas fired tank. The tank had been in service for 12 years and had failed. I had the tank horizontal outside, didn't care if I damaged it, but could not budge the anode rod, which was separate from the fill tube. I did not have the tank connected with a dielectric (i.e., non-conducting) nipple; I used sweated copper from the tank to the copper lines. Commented Dec 5, 2016 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


I can't imagine a code that would prohibit flexible water lines, but all building codes are up to the local jurisdiction so it is possible. In earthquake country on the west coast, flexible water lines are required in some places and optional but recommended in others.

Looking at, for example, Daly City water heater requirements (http://www.dalycity.org/Page192.aspx) say flex lines are recommended but not mandatory. In either case, "A union or flared connection is required on hot and cold water lines to facilitate removal of the appliance (CPC 609.5)". Flex lines give you the flare connection.

There are two common types of flexible lines for water heaters: copper and rubber+steel. It could be that in your jurisdiction, one type is allowed but the other is prohibited. Copper flexible water line Rubber and steel flexible water line

A union is a pipe joint with matching threads, made specifically for allowing disconnection of a hard connection. Whoever installed yours without a union didn't know what they were doing. You can easily add a PVC union to the existing setup if you want to avoid adding a flex line for any reason.

PVC union joint

But personally, I would install the copper flex lines on both hot and cold, until a local inspector told me specifically it was not allowed.

And while you're at it, if this is a gas heater, make sure it is 18 inches off the floor too. :-)

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