What’s the Role of an Anode Rod

Proper diet is key to good health: anyone reading this blog who might dispute that?

Good, we didn’t think so.

But hang on a sec: this is a plumbing blog – not a nutritional or health blog – so, what’s the point? Well, good plumbing health is a function of “diet” too. Your water heater is the perfect system to illustrate the point.

If you were to purchase a gas or electric water heater today, you’d be advised that it has a 10-12-year lifespan. Of course, there are always exceptions. Like the Ruud water heater that ran like a champ for 49 years. Or, on the flip side, those that call it a career before they’re 8 or “younger”.

While there are numerous factors that contribute to water heater longevity, water quality is right up there. Take, for example, the home with water that’s high in mineral content.

Mineral-rich water also is known as hard water, and hard water can cause all kinds of problems, including internal water heater corrosion.

That’s why water heaters come equipped with anode rods. They are metal rods that extend out from the top of the storage tank.   

Its purpose is to attract mineral deposits to itself rather than the inside metal wall of the storage tank. That way, the anode rod – a very inexpensive item – will gradually erode while the interior lining of the tank remains intact. 

Our advice? Have your anode rod replaced every 3-5 years before it’s so badly corroded that part of it breaks off inside the tank. If, on the other hand, you notice any of these warning signs, have your anode rod inspected more frequently:

  • Rust-colored water
  • Pools or even spots of water around the tank’s base
  • Metallic taste in your water
  • Decreasing water temperatures

Bottom line, the anode rod you replace today might just save you the expense of a replacement water heater tomorrow, and for many years to come. Contact Plumbtastic today for more information or a home water heater inspection.

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