If we asked you to name the most important appliance in your home, what would it be? We’d argue to say that it’s your water heater. After all, your water heater is one of the only systems in your home that gets used every single day—it works hard to provide you with the hot water you need to shower, wash dishes, do the laundry, and more. And if you’re using a storage tank water heater, there is one component, in particular, that is integral in allowing this to all happen seamlessly—the anode rod.
This isn’t exactly a household name, but the anode rod is very important in all households with a storage tank water heater. It provides an essential function in protecting your tank water heater from harm. The anode rod doesn’t last the lifetime of the water heater, though, so it’s important you know the condition of yours.
What Exactly Is an Anode Rod?
This is a rod that resides in the tank of your water heater and is composed of magnesium. This material breaks down faster than steel does, which is what hot water tanks are made out of. But why would you need a magnesium rod breaking down within your steel tank? Well, because this rod breaks down and corrodes so that your steel water heater tank doesn’t.
Protecting Your Water Heater Tank
Steel is a very useful material, but eventually, it will rust. You likely are already very well aware that water causes metal to rust. Manufacturers know this too, which is why they put a few lines of defense in place within your tank water heater.
The first line of defense is a glass coating inside your tank. In a new water heater, this lining prevents water from even coming in contact with the steel of your tank. However, this lining also begins to crack over time. When this occurs, the water within the tank can then go to work on the steel that it’s composed of. This is when the anode rod really comes into play.
The rod reacts to corrosive elements that exist in the water more readily than steel does. This protects the tank itself from corrosion. But since the rod breaks down over time, this also means it won’t last forever. Ensuring that this rod is checked during your plumbing maintenance appointments is important, as once the tank itself starts to rust, replacement is really your only option.
We’ll Keep Your Water Heater in Great Shape!
Contact us for your routine water heater maintenance. By skipping your water heater tune-ups, you could be missing out on important warning signs that something is amiss. If you do have to skip one though, at least be sure to have your anode rod inspected. If yours gets past a certain point of degradation, our professional plumbers can replace it so your hot water tank remains protected throughout its lifespan.