How long have you had your water heater? If it’s more than 10 years, you might wonder how it managed to get so far. After all, it’s a water-using device made of metal. Shouldn’t it have corroded or rusted-out at this point?
Honestly, you probably don’t give your water heater this much thought. As long as it keeps hot water flowing for the showers and your family isn’t complaining, it’s doing its job. If it runs into trouble, you can call our expert technicians to investigate and see what it needs.
But in this post, we want to talk about the part of your water heater responsible for it lasting as long as it has. All parts of a water heater are important for it to operate, but this component does something special: it stops the water heater from corroding. A bit of knowledge about this part will help you know how to best care for your home’s water heater.
Meet the Anode Rod—a.k.a. The Sacrificial Anode Rod
The anode rod is a temporary part of a water heater that is designed to corrode so the rest of the water heater doesn’t. This is why it’s sometimes given the melodramatic name of sacrificial anode rod, and we have to admit that’s a pretty cool name.
The rod itself is a steel core that has a second metal wrapped around it. This second metal is often magnesium, zinc, or aluminum. The rod is attached to the top of the tank of the water heater so it descends down through most of the tank. What occurs over the years the rod is in place is that the combination of the two metals draws corrosion, and as the metals corrode, they introduce electrons into the tank which prevents the tank from corroding. You could think of it as the rod attracting corrosion to keep it away from the other parts of the system.
Take Good Care of the Anode Rod: Replace It When Necessary
Notice we called the anode rod a temporary part. The rod will eventually corrode completely, and when that happens, it won’t protect the rest of the water heater. Most anode rods last about five years before needing replacement, so this is definitely less than the life expectancy of a water heater.
If you remember to schedule maintenance for your water heater with our professionals each year, you won’t have to worry about when to replace the anode rod. Our technicians will always check on the anode rod and tell you if it’s ready for replacement.
If you forget to replace the anode rod in time, you might begin to notice an unpleasant taste to your hot water, which is a warning sign to call us for repairs right away. In fact, you may need a water heater replacement in Orange County, CA if the corrosion has managed to get a grip on the tank. Keep us in the loop each year with maintenance for your water heater and we’ll help you avoid getting into this kind of jam.
Saddleback Plumbing Heating & Air has served Orange County since 1981. Schedule service for your water heater with our experts.