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I replaced the anode rod on my water heater, when I looked down after draining, I could see pieces of the old rod lying in the bottom of the tank. The old rod clearly had bits broken off from the core rod. Perhaps using the impact gun even shook some loose. Is this debris in the bottom of the tank detrimental now? From a corrosion standpoint?

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It is detrimental the same way as sediments that will work their way through the pipes and create blockages in shut-off values and clog up the aerators filters in the faucets. You just replaced the rod, Continue with a deep flush of the tank and remove the sediments from the bottom of the tank. There are YouTube video on how to do a deep flush but it consists of:

1. Put hot water on pilot or vacation mode
2. Shut of the water at the top of the heater
3. Drain the tank
4. Open water valve at the top of tank with drain faucet still open.
5. Run for about 5 minutes or until water is clear and no sediments is flowing out
6. Close drain faucet
7. After tank fills, turn gas back to your normal setting

On "Corrosion standpoint?" If any magnesium or aluminum broke off, it will continue to perform its duty of rusting first, same as if it was still on the rod.

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  • A flush is a good idea even if bits could not be seen. + – Ed Beal May 15 '20 at 15:16
  • Agreed - I do a full flush every 3 years, and the light flush once a year. My hot water tank is 23 years old. I do need to do the anode swap, but thinking it just better to swap it out now. LOL – Programmer66 May 15 '20 at 15:21
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    To sacrificially protect the steel tank the anode rod must be connected on one end to the steel tank. Anode fragments loose in the bottom of the tank won't be in contact with the steel of the tank because of the glass coating. I think it would be a good idea to flush out any such fragments. Over time they could cause damage to the glass lining. – Jim Stewart May 16 '20 at 17:31
  • Thanks all. The pieces are really big. They won't be flushed out any time soon until it dissolves into pure mush. – Chris Paveglio May 17 '20 at 14:37

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