What Does the Anode Rod in My Water Heater Do?

If you have a traditional tank water heater or a heat pump water heater that stores hot water in a tank, there is a component called an “anode rod” in that tank. You may not be overly familiar with this particular component, but trust us when we tell you that it serves an absolutely vital purpose in your water heater system. If you are serious about protecting the integrity of your water heater tank, as well as your water heater’s ability to function properly, you need to ensure that you have a good anode rod in the tank, and that it is changed as needed. That is why you should schedule your water heater services in Darien, CT with us.

What Is the Anode Rod, and What Is Its Function?

As you probably know, metal that is exposed to water and oxygen will eventually begin to rust. Have you ever wondered why it is, then, that your hot water tank doesn’t rust through, spilling its contents out onto your basement floor? There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the steel tank is lined with a layer of glass. This helps to prevent water contact on the steel. The other reason is because of anode rod.

When a glass liner like that in a hot water storage tank is continually exposed to high temperatures, it is only a matter of time before the glass begins to crack. When that happens, your anode rod has its time to shine. Made of magnesium or aluminum, with the former being more effective (and more expensive), anode rods attract corrosive elements in the water within the tank.

This is why anode rods are often described as being “sacrificial” anodes. They literally sacrifice themselves in order to protect the tank itself, rusting away in its place. When your rod is rusted enough, it will need to be replaced.

How Often Should I Change the Anode Rod in My Water Heater?

The frequency you will need to replace the anode rod can vary depending on how hard or soft your water is, the standard practice states that you should replace your water heater anode rod every six years. However, this important part of your unit can wear down much faster if you have an issue with soft water with high salt content. Depending on the severity of your problem, you may need to replace your water heater anode rod in as little as six months. If this is the case, you should call in a plumber to test and fix your water supply before it causes further damage to your water heater and plumbing system in general.

Schedule your water heater services with T&H Mechanical Systems to ensure the proper operation of your system.