Understanding The Importance Of Your Water Heater's Anode Rod

Blog

Of all the major appliances in your home, the water heater is one of the most heavily used. To reduce the likelihood of major repairs or upgrades, it is therefore highly important that you keep your water heater in tip-top shape. If you would like to learn more about maintaining this vital piece of equipment, read on. This article will take a closer look at one of your water heater's most important components--the anode rod.

The Purpose of the Anode Rod

Far and away, the main threat to your heater's longevity is corrosion. Acidic substances in the water are effectively amplified by the high heat. Over time they will corrode the tank's metal lining, causing rust and leaks, and eventually requiring the heater to be replaced. Fortunately, your water heater is equipped with a means of combatting this corrosion: the anode rod.

The anode rod is essentially a decoy, providing a more desirable target for corrosion than the walls of the tank. You see, anode rods are constructed using so-called sacrificial metals such as magnesium, zinc, and aluminum. These metals naturally attract--and neutralize--corrosive acids, allowing themselves to be destroyed.

Accessing the Anode Rod

Corrosion will become a real problem again once your anode rod has been eaten away entirely. Therefore it is important to check the rod on a regular basis, to determine whether a replacement needs to be installed. Here's how to remove your anode rod in order to inspect it.

Begin by shutting off the power to your tank and allowing the water inside to thoroughly cool. Then take a look at the top of the tank. You should notice a hex-shaped bolt head. This is the end of the anode rod. Unscrew it using a wrench with a 1-1/16" socket.

Don't be surprised if you have a hard time getting this bolt to loosen up. This is likely caused by corrosion inside of the tank. Try squirting the bolt with lubricant. Allow it to penetrate for a few minutes and then try again, repeating as necessary. In this manner, you should eventually get the bolt loose.

At this point, you should be able to easily pull the rod out of the tank. Depending on the height of your basement's ceilings, you may need to bend the rod in order to angle it out. This is normal; in fact, most anode rods are constructed with several joints to allow for this necessity.

When to Replace the Anode Rod

Used-up anode rods will look visibly thin and corroded. Oftentimes you will be able to see the steel wire at the center of the rod. Generally speaking, if more than 6" of steel are visible, it's a good idea to install a new rod. If in doubt, don't hesitate to consult with a professional like Jim Dhamer Plumbing & Sewer, Inc.. After all, you're better safe than sorry where you water heater is concerned!

Share

8 December 2015

plumbing mistakes - when to call in the pros

Do you know when to call a plumber? I had it in my head that plumbing was a simple system in my home that I could manage myself, but quickly learned otherwise. After completing a bathroom renovation myself and having a few of the water and drain pipe connections fail, I quickly learned that it was one job that I should have left to a professional. My website offers you simple solutions to small plumbing issues and a short guide to help you determine if your best option is to call in the professional plumbers. Hopefully, my mistakes will help you learn what not to do in your home.