If you use a storage water heater, as most people do, then your water heater is in constant contact with water from the day it is installed to the day it is replaced. All of that water exposure raises the likelihood of oxidization over time to 100%. So why is your water heater tank not rusted out, then? The answer lies with a deceptively simple part called the “anode rod.” Read on to find out more about the anode rod, and why you should keep a close eye on it.
What Is the Anode Rod?
The anode rod is a long metal rod, usually made of magnesium or aluminum, which is inserted into your water heater storage tank. The rod makes use of a process called electrolysis to attract the ions that normally cause rust to itself. As long as the anode rod is in the water, it will degrade instead of the lining of the water heater tank. This is the source of its full name: the sacrificial anode rod. Though this protection is quite powerful, it doesn’t last forever.
Why You Need to Check Your Anode Rod
After a while, the anode rod will degrade down to the steel wire at its core. When that happens, the protection provided by the rod will expire. You will need to replace the anode rod with a new one in order to keep protecting your tank lining. If the rod is not replaced, the water heater tank will begin to rust. Eventually, the rust can cause the tank to rupture, causing severe water damage to the surrounding area. That is why you should check, and replace if necessary, your anode rod at least once a year.
If you need to check or replace your anode rod, call SPS Mechanical Inc. We provide water heater services throughout Southeast Pennsylvania.