While modern technology has given us water heating options such as the tankless water heater, most homeowners still choose to use the good old tank water heater in their homes. Even newer systems like heat pump water heaters still use a hot water storage tank in their operation. If you do use a water heater with a tank, you should be aware of the fact that there is a component called an “anode rod” within that tank. You certainly don’t think about it on a daily basis, if at all, but this anode rod plays a vital role in protecting the integrity of your tank water heater in Holly Springs, NC.
What Is the Anode Rod, and What Does it Do?
An anode rod is a rod that resides in your hot water storage tank. This rod is typically made of either aluminum or magnesium. Magnesium rods tend to be more expensive, but they are also more effective in their purpose. That purpose is, put simply, self-sacrifice. Hence the common term “sacrificial anode rod.”
Modern hot water tanks are made of steel, with a glass lining within. This glass lining serves to protect the steel of the tank from corrosion due to constant contact with water. However, that glass liner will eventually start to split and crack. This is where the anode rod comes in.
The anode rod is more reactive to corrosive elements in the water than the tank itself is, so the water will essentially eat away at the rod before moving on to its main course: the tank. When you are diligent in replacing your anode rod as needed–typically every 5 years or so, though many factors will influence the lifespan of an anode rod, so it should be inspected regularly–you may be able to as much as double the lifespan of your tank.