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What Is an Anode Rod, and What Is It Doing in My Water Heater?

9The majority of homeowners are not professional plumbers, obviously, and many really are not all that interested in just how their plumbing system and appliances work. As an informed homeowner, though, you are able to make better decisions about your plumbing service needs and the overall operational quality of your plumbing appliances. This includes your tank water heater in Sarasota, FL. One of the most important parts of any tank water heater–gas, electric, and heat pump models included–is the anode rod. In the following post, we’ll talk a bit about what an anode rod is, and just why it is so important in keeping your water heater in great working condition.

What the Anode Rod Does for You (and How It Does It)

When exposed to water and oxygen, especially for long periods of time, steel will rust. You may remember this from a science class way back when. Considering the fact that modern water heater storage tanks are composed of steel, you may be wondering how it is that your tank does not just rust right through. The answer is a 2-parter.

First of all, the steel tank has a glass liner that helps to ward off rust and corrosion. You may know, perhaps from that same science class, though, that extended exposure to high temperatures can cause glass to crack. This is true in your hot water tank. When the glass does crack, and the steel is exposed, your anode rod has a chance to shine–sort of.

It actually shines in the way that it rusts and corrodes, so the final product is not all that shiny. Anode rods are generally composed of aluminum or magnesium, with magnesium being both more effective and, as a result, more expensive. These rods sit in the water tank, and they attract the corrosive elements in the water within that tank. This is why anode rods are commonly called “sacrificial anodes”. They rust away in order to protect the tank. It is important to replace these rods as needed, to keep your tank safe and to extend its life as long as possible.

Call Wimpy’s Dependable Plumbing today at 941-322-1911, and find out why our customers say, I Love My Plumber!

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