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I am attempting to check the status of the anode rod(s) of a Kenmore Power model 153.320892HT. Based on the owners manual, there are 2 anode rods, a primary which is accessible via the top of the heater, and a secondary that is integrated with the hot water outlet.

However, I don't see the primary anode rod. Where it looks like it should be, there is a metal pop out cover that has never been popped out (not sure what it is called). Which means I cannot determine if the heater actually has a primary, or perhaps it only has a secondary. Any ideas would be appreciated.

Top of hot water heater with metal pop-out circled

Entire top of hot water heater

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That's perfectly normal. The anode rod is assembled into the tank before the jacket and foam insulation go on, so you have to open the access port and dig out foam until you find the top of the rod so you can remove it.

If it was easy, you might actually check it and not just buy a new water heater because it rusts out when the anode rod is used up. What do you suppose the manufacturer actually wants you to do, really? They make more money selling a water heater every 10 years than an anode rod every 7 years, or however long they last where you are. Making rod access inconvenient helps their long-term sales numbers...

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  • Thank you. That makes perfect sense... all of it. :) Also explains why the owner manual never says anything about replacing the anode rod as part of standard maintenance. Dec 23, 2023 at 18:23

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