Water Heater Not Working? Replace natural gas tank water heater anode rodUtah County Water Heater Repair & Maintenance

Add 30% onto Your Water Heaters Life Span by Replacing Your Water Heater Anode Rod

Compared to other major home appliances, water heaters have a pretty rough life. Not only are they subject to constant heat and high pressure, but they also face the ongoing risk of corrosion. Fortunately, where the last of these threats is concerned, water heaters are protected by a key component: the water heater anode rod. If you would like to improve your understanding of how the anode rod protects your water heater from rust and other forms of corrosion, read on. This article will discuss the role played by the water heater anode rod, as well as the importance of having your rod inspected on a regular basis.

Tank Corrosion 

As you can imagine, the fact that water heaters spend their entire lives exposed to water means that corrosion is an ever present threat. That is because the walls of most water heaters are composed of steel or other iron-containing metals. When exposed to water, iron undergoes a chemical reaction known as oxidation. This results in the loss of electrons, which leads to the formation of hydroxide ions. These hydroxide ions cause rust to form o the surface of the metal. Eventually, if allowed to proceed unchecked, such corrosion can lead to the walls of a water heater becoming so weakened that it collapses entirely.

JBK Servicing Water Heater Water Heater Repair in a saratoga springs Utah home.

Replacing your Water Heater Anode Rod every 2-3 Years for Utah Homes will add years to your water heaters life and save you money on your gas bill.

The Water Heater Anode Rod 

That’s where your water heater anode rod comes in. This thin length of metal wire plays a simple but vital role: presenting a more attractive target for corrosion than the walls of the tank. Because it plays this function, the water heater anode rod is often alternately referred to as the sacrificial rod. Over time, corrosion will eat away at the rod, while leaving the rest of the tank virtually unscathed. Of course, should the rod become completely consumed by corrosion, it will no longer be able to do its job, and rust will begin to form again on the walls of the tank.

Your Water Heater Anode Rod Chemistry 

A water heater anode rod represents such potent targets for corrosion thanks to the fact that they are made out of less “noble” metals than the walls of the tank. The less noble a particular metal is, the more susceptible it is to the forces of corrosion. Most anode rods are composed of magnesium, aluminum, or some combination of the two. Such metals that are much more reactive to oxidizing forces than steel.

When to Replace Your Water Heaters Anode Rod? 

The lifespan of most anode rods falls somewhere between four and five years. After that time, the sacrificial metals will have become completely corroded. The exact lifespan of an anode rod varies depending on a number of factors. These include the hardness of the water, how heavily the water heater is used, and how well it has been constructed. Those whose home’s are equipped with water softeners will generally need to replace their anode rods much more frequently. That’s because the salt used in water softening systems will cause the anode rod to corrode at a much faster rate.


Anode Rod Diagnosis 

There is only one way to determine the status of your anode rod: take it out of the tank. In theory, this is a fairly straight forward operation. To begin, you have to turn off the heater and allow the water to cool to a safe temperature. Then, using an appropriately sized box wrench, you must loosen the hexagonal nut located on top of the heater. This part of the job can often prove difficult, thanks to the fact that corrosion often locks the anode rod’s nut tightly into place.

Applying a few squirts of penetrating lubricant can help to loosen up stuck nuts. Once you’ve got it moving, unscrew the nut completely. Now you should be able to lift the anode rod out of place. Don’t worry if you have a low ceiling: most anode rods contain joints along their length that allow the rod to be bent. This makes it easier to get the rod in and out of the heater. If your rod appears chewed up, thus exposing the steel wire at the center, you will need to install a new one as soon as possible.

If you would prefer to have a professional inspect your anode rod, please feel free to contact the water heater experts at JBK Plumbing.