You may have heard that your water heater has a vital component called an anode rod. As such, you need to understand how this part works so that you can recognize when it’s malfunctioning. Here’s some important information on anode rods.
What Is an Anode Rod?
The anode rod is a steel core wire surrounded by aluminum, magnesium, or zinc that is screwed into the top of your water heater. This critical device protects your unit from rust and is often known as the sacrificial anode rod.
When the tank is full, this rod uses electrolysis to stop the tank from rusting. The process occurs when two pieces of metal are connected in water and ensures that the rod takes on the rust instead of the steel lining in the water heater.
Anode rods are typically surrounded by aluminum or magnesium, since these materials are less reactive, or noble, than steel. This means they’ll corrode first, which extends the life of your water heater and keeps chemicals and minerals out of your water supply. Anode rods generally survive between three and five years.
Magnesium rods are the most popular but work best in softer water. For hard water areas, aluminum is better since it can bear the minerals found in these regions. Zinc is actually an aluminum rod with a small ratio of zinc to help mask any sulfur smells emitted from hot water.
Signs of Trouble
The anode rod’s job is to corrode so that your tank’s lining doesn’t. Besides keeping track of its life span of about five years, there are other ways to know this component is nearing the end.
First, you’ll notice rust on the water heater. If the rod breaks off, it will fall into the tank and clank around as water flows through. Eventually, the water heater will become damaged.
If you hear loud, popping noises, corrosion could be the problem and you may notice issues with the water temperature. You may also notice a rotten egg smell when you run the hot water and that the liquid has a rust color. Once rust and corrosion take over, your tank may crack and leak, which can lead to water damage in your home.
If you suspect a problem with the anode rod in your water heater, call Glastonbury Burner & Boiler. Serving Glastonbury, CT, and the surrounding towns since 1989, this HVAC contractor offers 24-hour care for everything from regular HVAC maintenance to furnace repair. They also work on ductless HVAC systems and provide a two-year parts and labor warranty on installations. Call (860) 659-4120 for an appointment or visit their website for a look at their products.