What You Need to Know About the Anode Rod

Have you ever wondered why your water heater doesn’t rust out within a year or two of installation? With the amount of water that tank water heaters have to deal with on a daily basis, it seems inevitable that they would quickly lose structural integrity to oxidization. This would be the case, if not for a part called the “anode rod.” Let’s take a closer look at the anode rod, and what it does for your water heater.

What the Anode Rod Is

The anode rod is a long metal rod, which is inserted into the water heater storage tank. It is comprised of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc, and is forged around a thin steel wire. The metals that make up the rod attract the ions that normally cause rust in the tank lining. As long as the anode rod is in contact with the water in the tank, it will slowly degrade and the tank lining will be protected from rust. This protection is not permanent, however.

Why You Need to Have Your Anode Rod Checked

The anode rod is designed to degrade over time, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the “sacrificial” anode rod. Once the rod has degraded down to the steel wire, there will no longer be enough of it left to protect the tank. At that point, the rod will need to be replaced or the tank lining will start to rust. Anode rods tend to last between 1-2 years, which coincides with your annual water heater maintenance appointment. Your water heater technician will check the anode rod during every water heater maintenance appointment, and replace it if necessary.

If your water heater hasn’t been professionally checked in over a year, call Magnolia Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We offer a full range of water heater services throughout Rockville, MD.

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