Annual Anode Rod Maintenance: Everything You Need to Know

All water-using appliances require regular maintenance to help prevent rust buildup. Regular maintenance can help increase the longevity of your appliance. In your water heater, the anode rod helps prevent corrosion, which is why anode rod replacement should be part of every water heater maintenance service.

Water heater performance has a great influence on your convenience. You use hot water for cooking, cleaning and bathing, so it is important to keep it in tip-top shape. A properly functioning hot water heater will be efficient, thus minimizing heating costs.

What is an Anode Rod?

An anode rod is a long piece of steel wire forged with aluminum, magnesium or zinc. When it comes in contact with the water in the tank, it will attract the ions that cause rust. The sacrificial anode rod will be consumed by an electrochemical process in order to protect your water heater. This is a logical process based on a scientific effect that occurs when two metals are connected under water – one metal will corrode in order to protect another. Therefore, the actual anode rod will deteriorate over time and that’s why it is important to check on it regularly and replace it if needed.

When your anode rod has deteriorated, it should be replaced. Also known as the sacrificial anode rod, it is a perishable part that provides a vital function: protecting your water tank and the heating element of your hot water heater.

Whenever a professional plumber services your hot water heater, be sure that they also check on the anode rod. If the anode rod needs replacement, it should be done right away in order to prevent rust from forming inside your hot water heater tank. One faulty component, no matter how small, can have a negative impact on the overall function and durability of your entire heating system.

Replacing the Sacrificial Anode Rod

Of course, one can’t expect a water heater to last indefinitely. The average water heater lasts between 8-12 years with proper maintenance. An anode rod is a great help in protecting your water heater. The rod can easily be screwed into the tank and unscrewed when the time comes to replace it.

Here at Anta Plumbing, we prefer magnesium anodes to aluminum. Aluminum is lower on the Galvanic scale than magnesium, which means that it produces less of a driving current between the anode and the cathode (the tank), which implies that it doesn’t work as well in soft water. It also produces more corrosion byproduct, which falls to the bottom of the tank, creating sediment buildup. Over time, it will expand as it corrodes, thus becoming difficult to remove, and it may split from the core wire.Finally, aluminum is not healthy, particularly when you drink it from the bottom of the tank during a disaster.

While aluminum/zinc anodes are mostly aluminum, they tend to corrode more slowly than pure aluminum. It offers an economical way to fight odors, too.

If you need more information or assistance about anode rods and water heater maintenance, get in touch with Anta Plumbing today.

Written by Tanya Klien

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