what does a bad anode rod from a hot water heater look like? bit of back ground I have a hot water heater that hasn't been used much in the past year. it is connected to county water. it went several months not being used at all. turned it back on and the water had a sulfur smell. with the hot water valves at the heater turned off the cold water was fine. hot water heater was drained and refilled. still sulfur smell. finally got the anode rod out today. it has some pitting but for the most part still looks like a piece of 1/2 rebar. the center core is exposed at some points. the whole rod has a white coating on it. since I have it out I will be buying a new rod tomorrow but should I do anything else? should I pour some bleach in the tank before I install the new rod?