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Helpful Information on Plumbing, Heating, & More

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What Does an Anode Rod Do?

 New and old magnesium anode rod on a gray concrete background. The concept of maintenance and repair of electric water heaters

Water heaters are essential for any household, providing hot water for various purposes, such as cooking, bathing, and cleaning. However, like any other appliance, it requires regular maintenance to ensure it functions efficiently without any issues. One crucial component of a water heater is an anode rod. Now you may be wondering, what does an anode rod do?

Understanding what an anode rod is and how it can save you money by prolonging the lifespan of your water heater and avoiding costly repairs or replacements is essential. Let’s explore what an anode rod is, how it works, and why it’s crucial for your water heater.

What is an Anode Rod in a Hot Water Heater?

An anode rod is a sacrificial rod made of either magnesium, aluminum, or zinc coated around a steel core. The rod connects to the top of the water heater tank and extends into the tank’s interior. The rod’s purpose is to absorb corrosive agents from the water, preventing them from reacting with the tank and causing rust and corrosion, which could lead to costly repairs.

How Does the Anode Rod Work?

Circling back to the big question of “what does an anode rod do?” — the anode rod works through a naturally occurring process called electrolysis. The rod serves as a negatively charged electrode that attracts the positively charged metallic ions in the water, such as calcium and magnesium. The corrosive ions convert the anode rod into rust, sacrificing it to preserve the tank’s integrity.

Why is the Anode Rod Important?

As stated above, the anode rod works by sacrificing itself instead of the tank so it doesn’t corrode and burst, causing water leaks. If the anode rod is not replaced when it wears out, the system will begin to rust, and corrosion will eat away at the tank walls, leading to leaks, ruptures, and, ultimately, expensive repairs or replacement. Therefore, regularly maintaining the anode rod will significantly prolong the water heater’s lifespan!

How Long Does an Anode Rod Last?

The average lifespan of an anode rod is between three to five years, depending on the water quality in your area. Hard water, for instance, accelerates the corrosion rate and lifespan of the anode rod. To ensure the rod lasts longer, consider softening the water with a water softener, reducing its wear and tear. And the best way to maintain your anode rod is to get it inspected annually by a professional plumber. They can advise on when it’s time to replace important items.

Who to Call For Water Heater Repair

When your water heater is on the fritz, it’s time to give your local professional plumbers a call. As experts in our field, our South West Plumbing team is here to ensure your home comfort needs are met and that you never have to worry about your old anode rod leading to freezing cold water. 

Certified Water Heater Repair & Installation in Seattle

Water heater problems can leave you uncomfortable in your own home, which is why the team at South West Plumbing does its best to ensure the diagnosis and repair process is convenient for you. Our certified plumbers work around your schedule with no extra charge for weekends or evenings. We charge by the job, not the hour, to make sure you’re satisfied with the results. We will also leave your house as clean as it was when we came, so you don’t have to worry about any messes that may come with the repairs. Call us today or request a service appointment online.

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