Your water heater is one of the hardest working appliances in your house. You probably don’t use your heater or air conditioner every day, but you almost certainly use hot water. If you use a storage water heater, as most people do, your water heater is working day and night to provide you with hot water. All of that water exposure should cause your water heater to rust into oblivion within a couple of years. Why, then, do water heaters last up to a decade under constant water exposure? The answer lies with a part called the “anode rod.” Let’s take a closer look at what the anode rod is, and why you need to have yours checked at least once a year.
What is the Anode Rod?
The anode rod is a metal rod that is inserted into the storage tank of the water heater. The rod is made of either aluminum, magnesium or zinc, formed around a steel wire. As long as the anode rod is in contact with the water in the tank, it will degrade away. While the rod is degrading, the lining of the tank will be free of rust. This is accomplished by making use of electrolysis, where ions that normally cause oxidization are attracted to the rod instead of the tank lining.
Why You Need to Check Your Anode Rod
As you might expect of a part that is built to degrade, the anode rod cannot protect the tank forever. Eventually, it will degrade down to the wire, at which point it must be replaced before the tank can start rusting. This is why it is so important that you have your anode rod checked, and replaced if need be, every year. If a functioning anode rod is not in the tank, it will rust and begin weakening.
If you haven’t had your anode rod checked in a while, call Saddleback Plumbing. We provide water heater services throughout Orange County, CA.