What Is An Anode Rod? Why Is It Important?

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You have to hand it to water heater designers.

Knowing that steel and water don’t mix very well over time, they came up with an ingenious solution when they set out to create modern water heaters: the anode rod.

What does an anode rod do? Well, first keep in mind that conditions inside a water tank create a “perfect storm” for corrosion – not only does steel decay in water, but heat, the slight acidity of household water, and an environment of electrical conductivity all accelerate the process. Without some way to slow corrosion, a steel tank would rot in just a couple of years.

Enter the anode rod.

Spoil the rod, spare the tank

An anode rod – a steel core wire surrounded with either aluminum, magnesium or zinc that mounts to the top of your heater – “takes one for the team” by drawing the corrosion process to itself rather than the tank lining (the anode rod is often referred to as the “sacrificial rod” for this reason).

A typical anode rod will last about five years depending on the volume of water that circulates through the tank; if you use a water softener, that window shrinks considerably.

Once your anode rod is depleted, your tank will rot much faster – and since replacing an anode rod is a lot cheaper than replacing your tank, it’s best to stay on top of the problem with routine maintenance and expert equipment inspections.

Did you know that Hocon checks the anode rod as part of our Water Heater Inspection package – one of eight Home Comfort options we offer? It’s true! Contact us today to learn more about water heater service and water heater installations in CT!

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