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What is an Anode Rod?

Comfort in your home requires an excellent plumbing system. Most plumbing systems consist of water heaters and water heating tanks. A cold shower on a chilly morning can be uncomfortable! You always need a functional water heater.

Water heaters are constantly exposed to water and are susceptible to rust and corrosion. The anode rod is the key to the lifespan and success of your water heater from installation to replacement. However, the life expectancy of your anode rod is often shorter than the water heater itself so you need to check it regularly and replace it as needed.

If your home doesn’t have a traditional water heater tank, you probably haven’t heard of an anode rod. But if you do, you should learn about them. Moon Valley Plumbing explains the essentials of anode rods.

What is an Anode Rod?

An anode rod is a long metal rod formed from magnesium, aluminum, or an alloy of aluminum and zinc around a steel wire, preventing corrosion in your water heater. The rod is inserted into the water storage tank, where it degrades, protecting the tank lining from rusting. The anode rod extends the life of your water heater and maintains the quality of the hot water produced. The anode extends the lifespan of your water tank by attracting sediments which would cause corrosion on the tank’s wall.

What does an Anode Rod do?

Water heaters are prone to rust, which can shorten their lifespan. An anode helps to prevent rust which lengthens the lifespan and performance of your water heater. It is also referred to as a sacrificial anode and degrades to corrosion, protecting your tank lining from rusting. As it erodes, electrons are released into the tank, which protects the tank’s lining and prevents corrosion.

Why are Anode Rods Important?

Water heating accounts for about 20% of your home’s energy use. A malfunctioning water heater strains to produce hot water, increasing energy costs, and household expenses. An anode rod attracts corrosive elements like sediments and minerals, thus protecting the water heater and improving its performance and efficiency. Water heaters are vulnerable to corrosion and regular inspections of the anode rod are important to improve the water heater’s lifespan.

How often should the Anode Rod be replaced?

Household consumption of hot water, hardness or softness of the water, water system maintenance, and the type of anode rod used are some factors that determine the lifespan of the anode. For instance, water acidity and heat degrade the anode rod faster.

The type of material your anode rod is made of influences its lifespan. Anode rods made of magnesium corrode faster, especially in hard water conditions. Thus, magnesium anode rods should be checked annually and replaced after a few years. 

Aluminum rods, however, are longer-lasting and more affordable than magnesium ones so they may take longer to be replaced. These should be checked annually or biannually and replaced by a trusted plumbing company after an extended period.

Lastly, there’s the electrical or non-sacrificial anode rod, which does not undergo corrosion. It sends electrical impulses into the water heater to protect it from rusting. They are expensive but provide the longest-lasting option for the water heater.

How to Check your Anode Rod

Visual inspection of your anode rod is necessary to check on the health of the rod. Draw samples of both hot and cold water from the water tank to check for any signs of rust. Flushing and draining your water heater storage tank as per your manufacturer’s recommendations will protect the tank from corrosion.

Signs that your water heater is corroded include: a knocking sound from the heater, fluctuation of water temperatures, leaks from the heater, production of little hot water, or the foul smell of a rotten egg.

Do you need an Anode Rod replacement?

The anode rod is the champion of preserving the health of your water heater. Severe corrosion of the anode rod may require replacement to extend the lifespan of your water heater. Extensive expert knowledge of plumbing is necessary to avoid damaging the newly acquired rod.

Is it Time to Replace Your Anode Rod? Contact Moon Valley Plumbing Today!

Do you have an older water heater tank? Is your water not warming up? Moon Valley Plumbing offers two decades of experience in water heaters, home inspections, and other plumbing services.

Whether replacing an existing part or installing a brand new unit, our plumbers can handle any job.

Moon Valley Plumbing is a reliable source of top-quality products, and our outstanding customer service has made us the valley’s most recommended company by homeowners like yourself. 

Call us today to schedule your appointment!