Every team has a “go to” guy – that one special person you can always count on in clutch situations.

Well, in the case of your water heater, that “guy” is the anode rod.  The anode rod – also known as the sacrificial rod for reasons that will soon become apparent – is a leading factor in determining how many years of productive use you can expect from your water heater.

An anode rod is a steel wire wrapped by one of three metals: aluminum, magnesium, or zinc. While each metal has its own specific application – aluminum, for example, is the best choice for hard water conditions – they all share the same purpose, and that’s to protect the inside walls of the storage tank from rust and corrosion.

Look at your water heater storage tank, and you’ll notice the anode rod protruding from the top.  It’s designed to be accessible for ease of replacement roughly every four years.  When you look at the “before” and “after” photos below, you’ll see why.

Through the process of electrolysis, the anode (or sacrificial) rod attracts corrosive elements inside your water supply to itself, thus sparing the inside walls of your storage tank from damage.

Let’s say, however, that over time, you forget all about checking on the condition of your anode rod. The good news is there are other signs that it might be corroding. First, a depleting rod will add rust to your hot water supply, which you’ll notice if your hot water suddenly starts showing tints of brown.

A badly corroded rod can break off, with the lower portion settling at the bottom of the tank.  There it will bang around which can cause your tank to crack. Or, the rod can become so badly corroded that it simply can no longer absorb any more corrosive elements.

Having your anode rod looked at and, as needed, replaced, is a fast and inexpensive process. For your added convenience, we recommend a complete water heater inspection so we can look at all working parts to ensure optimum performance and safety. Contact Anthony’s Plumbing, Heating & Air today to schedule service and help your water heater last longer.