We rely on our water heaters for hot showers and baths, dish washing, and clean clothes all year long. But we don’t often realize its value until something goes wrong with it. What goes on inside the tank is often not very clear to most homeowners, but have some basic knowledge about how your water heater works can go a long way towards calling your plumber at the right time. One of the most important parts of the water heater is the anode rod, also known as the sacrificial anode. In this post, we’d like to explain what it is and why it’s important. For more information, or if you think your anode rod needs replacement, call a Pickering, ON water heater expert at Advantage Airtech today!

The anode rod is probably the most important factor preserving your water heater from damage. The anode rod is about 39” long and typically ¾” wide, and made up of a steel core wrapped in magnesium, aluminum, or zinc. The choice of the wrapped material may depend upon the mineral content of your water, but it may also come down to the manufacturer’s specifications. It is said to be “sacrificial” because this special wrapping is slowly corroded by the water stored inside your heater. All metallic elements are reactive in some sense, so the anode rod is designed to prevent your water from reacting with the interior sides of the water heater.

How long your anode rod lasts depends on the composition of your ground water. Because about 85% of American homes have what’s known as “hard water”—with high levels of calcium and magnesium—it’s hard to say exactly how long your anode rod will last. Its lifespan also depends upon how much hot water your home uses, the temperature, and the condition of the tank itself. Routine inspection of and replacement of your anode rod is an essential part of home maintenance. If your anode rod dissolves, it can lead to rusty water and water heater damage.

We hope this answered your question about the anode rod in your water heater. For more information, or for comprehensive water heater repair, call Advantage Airtech in Pickering, ON today!

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