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Ideal Services Heating & Cooling Blog

Water Heater Question: What Does an Anode Rod Do?

When a part of your water heater is damaged, that usually means that it’s not doing its job properly. But when the component of your water heater called the anode rod is rusted and worn, it means that it has served its purpose well. The anode rod, also known as the “sacrificial rod,” is perhaps the most interesting component of your unit because it is essentially sacrificed for the good of your tank. Because it serves such an important role, you should be sure to schedule maintenance every year to find out whether it needs replacement. For more on the anode rod and your water heater, we’ve put together this brief guide.

Rust Is a Threat to Your Water Heater

When water reaches your home, it is not exactly pure. Fluoride and chlorine may be added to the municipal water supply for health purposes, while the water may pick up other minerals and suspended particles as it moves through the pipes. These substances are usually not bad for your health, but they may cause the metal parts of your water heater tank to corrode. This is because these minerals can produce conductivity in the water, causing the steel tank to rust and corrode, particularly when the water is heated.

How the Anode Rod Works

This process is known as electrolysis, and the sole function of the anode rod is to draw the electrolytic process to itself and away from the steel in the tank. The anode rod is made of magnesium or aluminum and is a necessary component of any storage tank water heater. However, as it becomes too worn down, the tank may undergo the same level of corrosion and suffer from permanent damage.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

When this part becomes too worn down, these particles will affect your tank instead, leading to premature rust and corrosion. There is no way to tell how long it will take for this part to wear down completely, as this may depend on several factors such as your water quality and the frequency of use. To prevent repair needs with your water heater, call a technician for maintenance every year. The technician will clean and inspect your tank and replace the anode rod if necessary. Call Ideal Services Heating & Cooling, for maintenance or repairs for your water heater in Cary, NC.

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