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We all know that a water heater’s primary purpose is to heat water. The water is heated by conducting heat through metal. Since heating involves both metal and water, you’ll get a condition called galvanic corrosion. It happens when dissimilar metals come in contact with each other while immersed in an electrolyte resulting in corrosion. In order to prevent this from happening, the anode rod was created.

Water Heater Anode Rod: What’s This?

An anode rod is a piece of sacrificial steel core wire wrapped with magnesium, zinc, or aluminum. It functions by counteracting the effect of corrosive particles that occur inside your water heater tank. The rod’s main purpose is to protect the tank liner and diminish the explosion risk. These anode rods must be replaced every 3 to 5 years based on your water quality. If you don’t do this, you risk facing a potentially hazardous situation.

How To Know When It’s Time To Install A New Anode Rod?

There is a simple method to identify whether your rod has reached the end of its life. Cloudiness in your running water can indicate there is excessive sediment buildup in your water tank. And if this is accompanied by odor or rusty color, it is a clear sign your sacrificial anode rod has been thoroughly damaged. If you don’t replace it, the water will keep corroding the tank’s underlying steel, leading to failure and serious water damage.

What Types Of Anode Rods Are Available?

  1. Magnesium anode rods are one of the most common in residential water heater tanks. These aren’t suitable for homes with hard water since they will corrode fast and diminish the unit’s effectiveness.
  1. Aluminum anode rods aren’t as common as they used to be. Still, these rods represent the cheapest alternative to more reliable rods. Homes with extremely hard water might benefit from aluminum anode rods because they corrode extremely slow.
  2. Zinc anode rods are made from both aluminum and zinc and represent the best replacement solution for your water heater anode rod. It isn’t a standard rod you’ll find on all water heaters, but replacing your rod with a zinc one can offer numerous benefits. It can manage and limit bacteria growth inside your tank, protecting your family for years to come.

Final Word

A water heater anode rod is a small but crucial element in your system. It is recommended to discuss it with a plumbing expert so that you receive additional information based on your water heater model. Of course, you can change the rod yourself, but a technician can offer valuable advice you won’t find anywhere else.

Always remember that this small element in your water heater is meant to protect your family and prevent corrosion from happening. If you leave it unattended, it can cause leaks and serious water damage problems. Proper installation of water heater anode rods can allow you to use your water heater for years to come.