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What Does an Anode Rod Do?

tank-water-heaterIf you were to name the most important appliance in your home, what would it be? Many homeowners would go with their water heaters. The water heater in your home is a true workhorse, providing you with the hot water that you need in order to shower, wash dishes, do the laundry, and so much more. If you use a tank water heater in Phoenix, AZ, then you depend a lot on a component that you may not even know exists. This is the anode rod.

While the anode rod may not exactly be a household name, it really should be in those homes outfitted with tank water heaters. The anode rod provides a vital function in order to protect your tank water heater from harm. The anode rod also does not last forever, so it is important that you know for certain what type of condition yours is in.

What Is an Anode Rod?

An anode rod is a rod that resides in the tank of your water heater. The anode rod is most commonly composed of magnesium. Magnesium breaks down more quickly than steel does, and hot water tanks are made of steel. Now, why would you want a magnesium rod breaking down within a steel tank? Well, the anode rod, also known as the sacrificial anode, breaks down and corrodes so that your steel tank doesn’t.

Protecting the Tank

Steel is a very useful material, but it will eventually rust. Chances are that you know water will cause metals to rust. Tank water heater manufacturers know this, too, which is why the tank has a few lines of defense in place.

The first is the glass coating inside the tank. In a new water heater, this lining will prevent water from even coming into contact with the steel of the tank. However, this lining will also start to crack over time. When that happens, the water within the tank can then go to work on the steel that it is composed of. That’s when the anode rod really comes into play.

The rod reacts to the corrosive elements in the water more readily than steel does, so it is consumed by this material first. This means that your tank itself is protected from corrosion. Because the rod breaks down over time, it also means that it won’t last forever. Keeping a good rod in place is integral to the protection of your hot water tank. Once the tank begins to rust, replacement is your only option.

Let Us Keep Your Water Heater in Great Shape

Routine water heater maintenance is definitely a worthwhile investment. If you don’t have your water heater tuned up regularly, you should at least have the anode rod inspected every few years. If yours is past a certain point of degradation, our plumbers can replace it so that your hot water tank remains covered.

Schedule your plumbing and water heater services with the professionals at The Sunny Plumber. We will do the job right.

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The Sunny Plumber Phoenix 1845 West 1st Street, Ste 107, Tempe, AZ 85281