If you use a storage water heater, as most people do, your water heater is in constant contact with water from the time it is installed onward. A storage water heater keeps a large tank full of heated water available at all times, just in case the need should arise. This constant contact with water should cause quite a bit of rust, which would eventually corrode the tank to the point that it ruptures. While that does occasionally happen, it doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should.
Why then, does your water seem so resistant to rust? The answer lies in a simple part called the “sacrificial anode rod.” Let’s find out more about the sacrificial anode rod, and why you need to check yours every year.
What Is the Sacrificial Anode Rod?
The sacrificial anode rod, often simply called the anode rod, is a long aluminum rod that is inserted into the storage tank of your water heater. As long as both the anode rod and the lining of the tank are in contact with the water, the rod will start to degrade instead of the tank. This is where the sacrificial part of the rod’s name comes from. As long as a water heater tank is equipped with an anode rod, it will be safe from rust.
Checking and Replacing the Anode Rod
Unfortunately, this protection isn’t permanent. Eventually, the anode rod will degrade to a point where it can no longer protect the tank. When that happens, the tank will start to rust. This is why it’s so important to check your anode rod at least once a year. If the metal is degraded down to the wire at its core, it means that it needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
If you don’t know how to check or replace your anode rod, call The Sunny Plumber. We provide water heater services throughout Phoenix, AZ.