It’s possible that you’ve never heard the phrase sacrificial anode rod. You might not even know where in your home you would find one—but it’s there. Any guesses? The anode rod is a component of your tank water heater, and while the water heater itself may last for 15 years or more, the anode rod won’t. It’s a part that needs to be replaced regularly, which is why it is referred to as sacrificial. If all this comes as a surprise to you, read on. We’d love to shed some light on this mysterious topic.
The Risk of Corrosion
Decades ago, home plumbing pipes were frequently manufactured from galvanized steel or even cast iron. While these metals are strong and durable, they’re vulnerable to corrosion over long stretches of time. These days, the pipes in your home are almost certainly either copper or a special type of plastic, both of which are extremely resistant to corrosion. But what is the tank of your water heater made of? Steel. And when corrosion starts to develop on the inside of the tank, it’s time to get a new water heater. How can this corrosion be prevented? With an anode rod.
The Role of the Anode Rod
Anode rods are made of magnesium and aluminum. They attract the corrosive particles in your water, sacrificing themselves to prevent the tank from corroding. Some water heaters have a single anode rod, and some have two to strengthen the protection they provide. But even with two anode rods, corrosion will eventually spread to the tank itself. This is why it’s critical to replace your water heater’s anode rod or rods regularly, so that their sacrifice won’t be for nothing. With a fresh anode rod at regular intervals, the tank of your water heater can be protected from corrosion for many years.
Anode Rod Replacement
The task of replacing an anode rod is a job for an experienced professional plumber. You should never attempt water heater repairs on your own. It would risk voiding your warranty, causing expensive damage to the water heater and potentially water damage to the surrounding area, not to mention the risks associated with the energy source powering your water heater, either gas or electricity. Save yourself time, money, and trouble by getting professional water heater service in Stamford, CT.
When to Replace Your Anode Rod
It typically takes two to three years for the anode rod to corrode to the point of needing to be replaced. If you wait until your water is discolored or you see flakes of rust, you may have waited too long. The best way to make sure your anode rod is getting replaced at the appropriate time is to have annual water heater maintenance performed by a qualified plumber. In addition to addressing issues like mineral scaling and inspecting and testing all the components of your water heater, they can assess the state of your anode rod and let you know whether it’s time for a new one.
If you’d like to know how your anode rod is doing, we’d love to hear from you.