Typically water and metal are not good combinations, but they are necessary for certain components like your home’s water heater. Rust is always a concern with water heaters which is why precautions are taken during manufacturing to help significantly reduce the chances of rust developing inside your water tank. One way manufacturers do this is by insulating the storage tank; another is by installing an anode rod. Anode rods are used for a number of things, but specific to water heaters, they are very important in curbing the development of rust inside your tank.

What Is an Anode Rod?

An anode rod, also known as sacrificial anode or sacrificial rod, is made of a highly active metal, usually magnesium or aluminum; the core of the anode rod is steel. The reason for the rod is made of highly active metals is that these metals attract the electrolytes that begin and are part of the corrosion process. By attracting these electrolytes, the other metal parts inside the tank can be prevented from developing rust.

Anode Placement

Anodes screw into the top of the water tank and hang down. The number of anodes a tank will have depends on the type of tank it is and the warranty on the tank. Residential tanks typically come with either a 6- or 12-year warranty; a 6-year warranty means the storage tank has a single anode rod and a 12-year warranty means there are two anode rods. Commercial water heaters can have anywhere from one to five anode rods depending on size.

Average Lifespan

The average lifespan of an anode rod is typically between 6-8 years, but this can depend on a few factors:

  • The quality of the water
  • Amount tank is used
  • Temperature of the stored water
  • Quality of the storage tank

An increase of sodium can accelerate the corrosion of the anode rod, so it’s important to monitor any water softening.

Replacing Anode Rods

Anode rods can, and should, be replaced, but only by trained experts. Allowing a corroded anode rod to stay inside your water tank can put your water heater tank at risk for corrosion.

If you are concerned about the state of your water heater’s anode rod, call BZ Dependable Plumbing & Heating, Inc., today and schedule water heater repair for your Tenafly home.

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