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What You Need to Know About Your Water Heater Anode Rod

Any system that deals with a large amount of water is going to have to deal with rust at some point. With the amount of water that water heaters have to deal with, they should be completely rusted out before they’re five years old. Why then, do water heaters frequently last between 15 and 20 years? The answer is a small part called the anode rod. Read on to find out more about the anode rod, and why you need to have it checked every year.

How it Works

The anode rod is a metal rod, typically made of magnesium or aluminum formed around a steel wire core. The rod is inserted into the top of the water heater tank, and degrades as long as it’s in contact with water. While the rod is degrading, it attracts the ions in the water that normally cause rust. This process is called electrolysis. This is how the anode rod prevents the water heater tank from rusting.

Why It’s Important to Check the Anode Rod

The protection the anode rod provides is not permanent. After around a year in the tank, the anode rod will degrade down to the steel wire at its core. At that point, it will no longer be able to attract the ions that cause the tank to rust. Unless the rod is replaced, the water heater tank will rust until it ruptures. This is why it’s so important to have a professional check your anode rod at least once a year, and replace it if necessary. Most water heater professionals will check the anode rod during the annual maintenance appointment.

Celco Heating and Air Conditioning installs and services water heaters throughout Fairfield, CT. If you need to schedule a water heater maintenance appointment, call us today. 

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