What You Should Know About Your Water Heater’s Anode Rod

Traditional tank water heaters have many working parts. And while they are typically relatively low maintenance, any appliance with several components can succumb to occasional problems. It is imperative to perform routine maintenance on your water heater to keep this frequently used system functioning at full capacity for as long as possible.

What You Should Know About Your Water Heater’s Anode Rod

One item to check off your water heater maintenance check-list is inspecting the anode rod and replacing it whenever necessary. This part attracts corrosive particles to prevent the tank from deteriorating. 

What is an anode rod?

The anode rod in a water heater is a sacrificial component, in that it is installed and intended to fail. Anode rods are made of a steel core surrounded by one of three metals: magnesium, zinc, or aluminum. Anode rods are meant to corrode quicker than the steel lining inside traditional hot water tanks, ultimately protecting the tank itself. (Note: tankless water heaters do not have anode rods, but all styles of traditional tank water heaters do.) 

The anode rod serves an important purpose in the lifespan of your water heater. When the anode rod breaks down and corrodes, the electrons released into the tank from the surrounding metal of the rod form a barrier around the lining of the water heater tank. Without a functional anode rod, the water heater is at higher risk of leaking or bursting. 

How often should the anode rod be replaced?

Anode rods should be replaced every three years, on average. Certain homeowners may find the anode rod needs to be replaced more often depending on the water heater unit’s frequency of use. If you have hard water, you may also need to replace the anode rod more often. 

To best protect your water heater from corrosion, you should flush the tank once per year to remove sediment build-up, and replace the anode rod whenever you see noticeable corrosion. 

Water heater maintenance in Evansville, IN

If it’s time for a water heater tune-up, including inspecting and potentially replacing the anode rod, trust the pros at Baylor Heating & Air Conditioning. To schedule a water heater maintenance appointment, call us today at (812) 425-8435.

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