What is an Anode Rod and How Does It Affect my Water Heater?

If you’ve ever dealt with water heater repair or maintenance, you may have heard the term “anode rod” before. It’s a simple component in a simple system: typically a rod made of aluminum or magnesium wrapped around a steel core. But it’s one of the most important elements in keeping your water heater free of trouble, and ensuring that it works the way it should for many years to come. Here’s a quick breakdown on how it functions and the way it affects your water heater.

Electrochemical Reaction

When two types of metal are placed in water, an electrochemical reaction occurs whereby the more “noble” metal is left alone while the less “noble” metal attracts corrosion. (“Noble” metals are less reactive than less “noble” ones.) Since aluminum and magnesium are less noble than steel, the anode rod will thus attract corrosion while the steel sides of your hot water heater do not. The rod becomes rusty and corroded instead of the sides of the tank, ensuring that your water heater stays in top shape and never springs a leak.

Replacement is Necessary

Unfortunately, that corrosion means that sooner or later the anode rod wears out and needs to be replaced. Anode rods typically last for about five years or so, but that can vary depending upon the quality of water in your tank, regularity of use and other factors. Our high humidity levels in Huntsville, TX can also take a toll, again depending on how much you use your hot water heater. The solution is to schedule a regular maintenance session, whereby a trained technician replaces the anode rod when it runs out (along with the various other tasks involved in keeping your water heater in good shape).

If you’re concerned about the anode rod in your water heater, call the professionals at Ardon Maintenance today!

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