With the amount of water that flows through your water heater every day, the system should collapse into a pile of rust within a year or two. So, why does that not happen? Why are water heaters able to last up to a decade while being in constant contact with water? Read on to find out the answer.
The Anode Rod
The anode rod is a long metal rod that is inserted into the water heater tank. It is made of either magnesium, zinc, or aluminum, forged around a steel wire core. While the anode rod is in contact with the water in the tank, it will start to degrade. This attracts the ions in the water that normally cause rust, part of a process called electrolysis. As long as the anode rod is in the water heater tank, the tank lining will be protected from rust. While this protection is quite effective, however, it is not permanent.
Replacing the Anode Rod
The anode rod will eventually degrade down to the steel wire at its core, at which point there will not be enough of it left to attract the ions in the water. At this point, the protection will expire. The anode rod will need to be replaced as soon as possible, or the tank will once again be vulnerable to rust. Typically, anode rods last about a year before they get so degraded that they need to be replaced. This is why it’s so important to schedule annual maintenance for your water heater, so that your technician can check the anode rod and replace it if necessary.
The Trusted Plumber offers a full range of water heater maintenance services throughout Phoenix, AZ. If you need water heater services of any kind, call today for an appointment.