While you’re showering or doing the dishes the metal rod inside the water heater might be sacrificing itself in order to protect your water heater and keep it running for a few more years. This rod is a simple steel core wire coated with another metal like magnesium/aluminum/zinc. This rod is inserted through an opening on the outside of your water heater so as to form a connection between anode rod and inner walls of the tank. The working of which is an electrochemical process which is the main reason for the safety of your water heater. Let’s understand this technical term from corrosion. This natural electrochemical process in which metals are oxidized results in their deterioration. This happens when electrons flow away from the metals by way of an electrolyte, causing actual metal loss that can create a hole through the side of a hot water heater’s tank.
This process continues to occur so that the anode rod has to fight again and again. Since anode rod is made from more active metals the electron loss of the anode is far greater than that of the less active steel water heater. Anode rod will rust away and will leave your tank unprotected. If you have your water heater inspected and maintained every year, it should be easy to catch a dwindling anode rod in time. Most anodes last for about five years depending on the hardness of your water and how much hot water you use.
So there are three types of water heater anode rod and are as below:
1. Magnesium anodes: It is the most common material used in modern water heaters, and it does an effective job of preventing rust, but it also has a weakness – hard water. While magnesium rods will still work in areas with hard water, they’ll break down much faster.
2. Aluminum anodes: These stand up much better to hard water, but have some certain risk. Aluminum exposure can cause health problems and may increase the risk of developing conditions including Alzheimer’s disease. So one should avoid drinking hot water from the taps.
3. Zinc anode: These rods are actually made mostly of aluminum, but they contain a small amount of zinc to help counteract any sulfur odors that might be lurking in the tank.
So if you need to inspect or replace the anode rod in your water heater, schedule an appointment with Stewart Domestic Plumbing’s trusted plumber before it’s too late.