If we were to ask you what the most important appliance in your home was, what would your answer be? Many homeowners would respond with “water heater.” After all, this is the true workhorse of any home, being used all year long to provide households with the hot water that they need to shower, do the laundry, wash dishes, and so much more. If you’re using a tank water heater, then you depend very much on a particular component that you may have never heard of until now–the anode rod.
While “anode rod” isn’t exactly a household name, it really is important in any home that has a tank water heater. This component provides an essential function in order to protect the tank water heater from harm. It doesn’t last forever though, so it’s important that you know for sure the condition that yours is in.
The Function of the Anode Rod
The anode rod is a rod that resides in the tank of your water heater, and it’s most commonly composed of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that breaks down more quickly than steel, and hot water tanks, as you know, are made of steel.
So, why would you want a magnesium rod breaking down within your water heater tank? Well, this rod, also called the “sacrificial rod” in our line of work, breaks down and corrodes so no other part of the tank does!
Water Heater Tank Protection
Steel is a very sturdy and useful material, but it does eventually rust. Chances are, you already know this–that water causes metals to rust. Tank water heater manufacturers understand this too, which is why your water heater has a few lines of defense.
The first line of defense is actually a glass coating within the tank. In a new water heater, this lining prevents water from even coming into contact with the steel of your water heater tank. But over the years, the glass can start to crack, and when this occurs the water can reach the steel of the tank, which is when the anode rod is really needed!
The anode rod reacts to the corrosive elements in the water more readily than steel does, so it’s consumed by this material first. This means that the water heater tank itself is protected from corrosion. Since the rod breaks down over time, this means it won’t last forever. So, it’s important that you have routine water heater maintenance done each year, which allows our technicians to check the anode rod and see if it needs to be replaced.
Keeping Your Water Heater in Great Shape
Routine water heater maintenance, as we just alluded to above, is one of the best investments you can make for your home. If your water heater isn’t tuned-up on a regular basis, we could miss an anode rod that needs replacing, or even a tank that needs to be flushed due to hard water scaling–which can limit hot water and damage the tank.
If you haven’t had your water heater checked in about a year, now’s the time to give us a call!