Ok ok.. it was early... I did infact mean anode rod not ironide...pfft.. women. Our water seems pretty harsh on the minerals so we were changing the rod quite often and at $30 a pop DH decided just to pull it out. The water does have a funky smell too it now, but no worse than needing to change the rod again. With the reg draining the heater was just as good as it was the day we got it. The hot water tends to get a black hue to it giving us the indication of when we need to clean it out. We don't really drink our water here and never have done. It is used for cooking and the usual brushing teeth etc but for consumption we use bottled. Rod or not, the water was too rough to drink. Difficult to get over the sulfer smell. We don't mess with the emergency valve either. As for messing up the cute bedspread.. With working so much if one did explode I don't think anyone could tell the difference. Currently have the bomb has gone off in here look in my house.