Spoil the Rod, Spare the Tank: The Small Device That Protects Your Water Heater
Looking at that big tin can sitting in your basement, you wouldn’t guess that there’s a lot of science that goes into the design of a water heater – but looks can be deceiving.
Take anode rods, for example. These simple devices live inside your water heater’s storage tank, where a “perfect storm” for corrosion is constantly brewing: not only does steel decay in water, but heat, the slight acidity of household water, and an environment of electrical conductivity all accelerate the process. Without some way to slow corrosion, a steel tank would rot in just a few years.
That’s where an anode rod comes in.
An anode rod – a steel core wire surrounded with either aluminum, magnesium or zinc that mounts to the top of your heater – “takes one for the team” by drawing the corrosion process to itself rather than the tank lining (the anode rod is often referred to as the “sacrificial rod” for this reason).
A typical anode rod will last about five years depending on the volume of water that circulates through the tank; if you use a water softener, that number can get cut in half.
Once your anode rod is depleted, your tank will rot much faster – and since replacing an anode rod is a lot cheaper than replacing your tank, it’s best to stay on top of the problem with routine maintenance and expert equipment checks.
Stay on top of water heater maintenance with expert plumbing service from Carroll Home Services – available with a $25 discount on your first visit! And if you’re ready for a new water heater, we can help you there, too, with $100 off a water heater installation.