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Performance Plumbing Blog

What’s the Role of the Anode Rod in your Tank Water Heater?

rusted-out-anode-rod-next-to-water-heater-tankIf we were to ask you to name one of the most important appliances in your home, that you likely take for granted, what would it be? If you said water heater, we’re bound to agree! The water heater in your home works pretty much 24/7 to allow you to shower whenever you want, wash dishes, do laundry, and more. If you’re using a tank model water heater, then you rely pretty heavily on one particular component–the anode rod.

The anode rod isn’t exactly a household name, but it has a really important role in a tank water heater. It provides an essential function to protect your tank water heater from harm. It also doesn’t last as long as the water heater itself, so it’s important that you know what kind of condition yours is in. Read on to learn more!

What Is the Anode Rod?

This water heater component is a rod, as named, that is typically composed of magnesium. The reason for this is that magnesium breaks down faster than steel does. Water heater tanks are made of steel! So, why do you need a magnesium rod breaking down in the water heater? Well because without it, the steel tank would corrode and break down instead. The anode rod is sometimes referred to as the “sacrificial anode rod” for this reason.

Protecting Your Water Heater

Steel is a very powerful material, but eventually, it will rust when exposed to water long enough. Chances are, you already know this. You know water causes metal to rust. Well, tank water heater manufacturers understand this as well, which is why there are a few lines of defense in place within the system.

The first layer is a glass coating inside the tank. In a new water heater, this lining prevents water from even coming into contact with the steel of the tank. But over time, this lining starts to crack, and when that happens, the water within the tank will go to work on the steel that it’s composed of. This is when the anode rod really comes into play.

The anode rod reacts to the corrosive elements in the water before the steel has a chance to, so the rod is consumed first. Therefore, the tank itself is protected from corrosion.

Because the rod does break down over time, it doesn’t last forever–it doesn’t last nearly as long as the tank itself. Keeping a good rod in the system is vital to the protection of your water heater tank, since once the tank starts rusting, a replacement will be your only option.

We’ll Help Keep Your Water Heater in Great Shape

Routine water heater maintenance is a good investment for your to make. If you don’t invest in regular tune-ups for your water heater, you should at least have the anode rod inspected and changed every few years. If yours reaches a certain point of degradation, our plumbers will replace it so your water heater stays in good condition.

To learn more about water heaters in St. Peters, MO, contact Performance Plumbing

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