Water heaters deal with tap water on a constant basis, from the time they are installed to the time they are replaced. The constant exposure to water makes rust less of a possibility and more of an unavoidable reality. So, how does your water heater avoid becoming a rusted-out shell within a couple of years of installation?
The answer is a small part called the anode rod. Read on to find out how the anode rod works, and why you need to have a professional check on it at least once a year. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Denver water heater pros!
An anode rod is a long metal rod, usually formed of magnesium or aluminum around a steel wire core. The rod is inserted into the water heater storage tank, where it slowly degrades. By design. As long as the anode rod is degrading in the tank, the tank lining will be protected from rusting. This is accomplished through a process called electrolysis, by which the metals in the anode rod attract ions that normally cause rust in iron and steel. These ions are what cause the anode rod to degrade over time. The time it takes for the anode rod to degrade depends, in part, on the mineral content of your water. Hard water is tough on anode rods.
Eventually, the anode rod will degrade to the point where it can no longer attract the ions that cause rust. At that point, the rod will need to be replaced in order to maintain protection for the water heater tank. A water heater tank with an expended anode rod is no better off than one without an anode rod at all.
When you schedule water heater maintenance yearly, you can stay ahead of problems. Your water heater or plumbing technician should check the anode rod, and replace it if necessary.
If you need to schedule a water heater maintenance appointment, contact Bell Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical. We offer a full range of water heater services in Denver, CO and the surrounding area!