Your water heater is one of the most important components in your home: providing safe hot water for cooking, cleaning and bathing. Most water heaters do their jobs quietly and without a fuss, which means that problems can creep up on you without noticing. This is compounded by the fact that most water heaters sit in out-of-the-way parts of your house, and don’t receive much attention so long as they do their job. Because of that, by the time you notice that something is wrong, the situation may be much worse than it appears
In particular, the anode rod is a key part of keeping your water heater functional. It prevents rust in the tank, but it needs to be replaced every two or three years. Otherwise, your water heater can quietly fall apart without you ever realizing it. Here’s a quick breakdown of why the anode rod is so important.
How They Work
An anode rod is placed in the tank of the water heater and screwed into place. It consists of a core steel wire sheathed by specific metal: usually aluminum, zinc or magnesium. (The exact kind of metal depends on the anode rod; aluminum tends to be better for homes with hard water issues, while magnesium costs less and zinc can prevent strange smells developing in the water.) Through a method known as electrolysis, these metals (which as less “noble” than the steel in the core or forming the cylinder of the tank). That, in turn, prevents rust from forming in the water heater itself: keeping it safe and helping to extend its life by many years.
But there’s a catch. The metal of the anode rod will eventually corrode and when it is gone, the sides of the tank will begin to rust. That can lead to rust forming in the water – and coming out of your faucets when you turn them on – and eventually corroding the tank itself. Breaches and leaks caused by such rust are common, and because the rust is so wide-spread, you usually need to replace the entire water heater when that happens. In order to keep your water heater functional, the anode rod needs to be replaced.
Get Them Replaced
The good news is that anode rods are relatively easy to replace, and can be purchased at most hardware stores and home improvement centers. In fact, replacing the anode rod is one of the big reasons why you should schedule maintenance with a friendly plumbing technician for your anode rod. Maintenance sessions give the technician a chance to check your system out for a wide variety of issues, including the build-up of sediment in the bottom of the tank and any components slowly wearing out. In the case of the anode rod, the technician can check to see if it hasn’t corroded. If it has or it’s getting close, the old anode rod can be replaced with a new one, ensuring that your system still has the protection it needs.
For quality water heater repair in Phoenix, AZ, call The Trusted Plumber today!