Water Heater Anode Rods

Hot water heaters constantly have water within the storage tank. Because of this fact, any of the metal parts have constant direct exposure to water making it impossible to avoid rust eventually. To help counteract rusting is the job of the anode rod or also called sacrificial rods. If it wasn’t for these parts, the water tank would surely rust in a few years. We we look at how an anode rod functions in this article.

How Water Heater Anode Rods Function

An anode rod is a lengthy metal rod typically comprised of magnesium or aluminum around a steel wire core. These rods are located inside the storage tank of the water heater. It is made to gradually break down over time. When the anode rod is close to being completely used up, it will not be able to protected the tank against corrosion.

Why does the anode rod slowly break down? There is a process called electrolysis, where the metal of the anode rod attract ions that trigger rust in iron and steel. These ions are the cause of the slow deterioration of the anode rods. However, that is okay for that is the entire reason why they are inside a water heater. As soon as the anode rods are deteriorated, they need to be replaced. This is an important reason to have a professional inspect ones water heater once a year. It will help make sure that the anode rods installed with be able to constantly perform their job to the fullest, helping one get the longest life possible from the heater.

Anode Rod Inspection

In time, the anode rod will no longer be able to attract ions. This is the time for a new rods. Without them, the hot water heater storage tank will certainly be exposed to corrosion. A professional checking the anode rods will look to see of large pieces of the rod as missing, if the rod looks like it is full of white calcium, or if more than 6 inches of the rod’s core is exposed. Depending on the size of ones tank, there will be either one or two rods inside. If they have not been checked or replaced in a long time, it may be difficult to loosen the nut that holds them in place. We are not going to into the details of how they are replaced, for we feel this is best left to a plumbing contractor to do. There can be some safety hazards that we do not want anyone to get hurt while performing.

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