Monday, December 26th, 2016 at 11:00 am
Have you ever wondered why your tank water heater isn't a rusted out husk after a couple of years? Any system that deals with that much water, day-in and day-out, is going to eventually start having a rust problem. Why, then, do water heaters seem so resistant to it? The answer is a small part called the sacrificial anode rod, or simply the anode rod.
The anode rod is a long metal rod made of aluminum or magnesium, which is inserted into the top of the water heater storage tank. As long as the anode rod is in contact with the water in the tank, it will attract the ions that normally cause iron to oxidize. This is part of a process called electrolysis. While the anode rod is degrading, the tank lining is protected from rusting. However, this process does not last forever.
The anode rod will eventually degrade down to the steel wire at its core, at which point it will no longer be able to defend the water heater tank from rusting. This process tends to take around a year to happen, which is why annual water heater maintenance is so important. Your technician will typically check the anode rod during a maintenance appointment, and replace it if necessary. This will ensure that your water heater remains protected from rust. If the rod is not replaced often enough, widespread rust might actually weaken the tank and cause it to rupture.
American Heating & Cooling provides comprehensive water heater maintenance services throughout Prestonburg, KY. If you need water heater services of any kind, call today to schedule an appointment. We'll make sure that your water heater serves you well for many years to come.