What’s the Point of the Anode Rod in My Water Heater?

water heater tank

If we were to ask you what the most important appliance in your home is, what would you say? If you’re like many homeowners, you’d probably reply that it’s your water heater. This system is, after all, a true workhorse. It provides you with the hot water you need to shower, wash dishes, do the laundry, and much more. And if you use a tank water heater, then you rely a lot on a particular component that you might not even know exists. We’re talking about the anode rod!

While the anode rod certainly isn’t a household name, it really should be in those homes outfitted with tank-style water heaters. The anode rod provides an essential function in order to protect your tank water heater from harm. The anode rod doesn’t last forever, though, so it’s important you know the condition of yours, and give our team a call for Durham, NC water heater services when you need them.

What Is the Anode Rod?

The anode rod is a component that resides in the tank of your water heater. The anode rod is the most commonly composed of magnesium. This metal breaks down more quickly than steel does, and as you likely already know, hot water tanks are made of steel.

So, why would you want a magnesium rod breaking down within a steel tank? Well, the “sacrificial anode rod” breaks down and corrodes instead of the inside of your water heater tank.

Tank Water Heater Protection

Steel is a very useful material—sturdy and dependable. Eventually, however, it will rust. Chances are that you know water will cause metal to rust already. Well, tank water heater manufacturers know this as well, which is why the tank has a few lines of defense within it.

Its first defense is a glass coating within the tank. In a new water heater, this lining will prevent water from even coming into contact with the steel siding of the tank. But this lining starts to crack over time, and when that occurs the water within the tank can go to work on the steel it’s composed of—which is where the anode rod comes in.

The rod responds to the corrosive elements in the water more readily than steel does, so it is consumed by this material first, effectively protecting the tank from corrosion. Since the anode rod breaks down, it means it won’t last forever—for this reason, it’s very important that you have plumbing maintenance scheduled once a year so we can check its condition.

We’ll Help Keep Your Water Heater in Good Shape

As we said above, routine maintenance will help keep your water heater in good shape. If you don’t have your water heater tuned-up regularly, you should at the very least have your anode rod inspected every few years. If it’s past a certain point of degradation, our team can replace it so your hot water tank remains protected.

At One Call Plumbing, we’re blending technology with traditional values. Contact us today for reliable water heater services!