Have You Checked Your Water Heater’s Anode Rod Recently? Here’s Why You Should

August 23, 2021

The invention of the water heater by Edwin Ruud in 1889 made everyone’s lives easier and made people more comfortable. While the water heaters today are more advanced than those first invented in the 19th century, some concepts of the first water heaters are still in use today.

Over time, problems with water heaters arose, and solutions naturally sprung up to address them. One of these solutions is the anode rod. Most water heaters use an anode rod, and it’s a critical part of how these appliances function. This article will cover what an anode rod is, why it’s important and why you should have it inspected regularly.

What is an anode rod?

Because water heaters hold water and are made of metal, their interior components are prone to rust and corrosion. This is because they’re holding water for extended periods of time. The solution to the rust and corrosion problem is the anode rod. An anode rod is a sacrificial metal rod placed in water heaters to prevent the corrosion of the inside of the tank.

How does an anode rod prevent corrosion?

The engineers who designed water heaters figured out that if they placed a metal rod of a certain composition (a more reactive metal) inside the water heater, then that rod would corrode before the inside of the tank did. This is why anode rods are “sacrificial”—they’re put there specifically to be galvanically corroded to save the inside of the water tank. It’s a similar principle to that of a lightning rod.

Why should you check your water heater’s anode rod?

As you’ve probably surmised by now, having a functioning anode rod is vital to the health of your water heater. Combine that with the fact that its corrosion is inevitable, and it’s easy to see why you should check the condition of your water heater’s anode rod from time to time. It’s not a matter of if it will deteriorate, but when—and you need to have it replaced before it corrodes down to nothing to save the inside of your water heater.

What type of metals are used in anode rods?

Different metals work better for different types of water heaters. For example, if your home has soft water, then magnesium anode rods are preferable. A home with hard water would benefit from an aluminum anode rod. And if you’re trying to rid your water of foul odors, a zinc anode rod is the best choice.

How often should you check your water heater’s anode rod?

Several different factors determine how quickly the anode rod inside your water heater corrodes, but having it checked every two to three years is a good base line to keep in mind.

Call to have your anode rod checked today

If you haven’t had your anode rod checked in a while, give us a call at Moody & McClendon Plumbing Inc. We’re the industry experts when it comes to water heater installation, service and repair, and we’d be happy to help you with these or any other plumbing services you may require.

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