Anode rods are essential to the function of your water heater. An Anode is a metal rod that corrodes instead of the water heater tank itself. An Anode Rod helps keep your hot water heater working properly by attracting or deflecting corrosive elements in the water. Anodes are typically made out of aluminum, zinc, magnesium or some combination thereof.
Water heaters have one anode located at the center underneath the heating element towards the bottom of the tank with two more on opposite sides approximately halfway up from there. These are connected to each other through metal wires which pass power from the electrical circuit inside to provide corrosion protection for your entire tank including all necessary connections. Anodes protect against rust and scale build-up caused by minerals in the water. An Anode Rod will last about 2-3 years before it needs to be replaced.
Anode Rod Corrosion
The process of Anode Rods corroding is called Anodic Disbonding and when this happens, it can lead to several problems such as discolored water, a rotten egg smell, air in the lines and intermittent hot water. An Anode Rod is a sacrificial metal rod that slowly corrodes over time while protecting your tank from rusting. When an Anode Rod no longer performs its duty of corrosion protection, there are easy ways to determine if you need a new one.
Just look for signs of corrosion or rust on or around the anode itself which could mean you have a bad anode rod and if that’s the case, you can simply replace it yourself. An Anode Rod should be replaced once every two to three years.
If your Anode Rod looks corroded or is leaking any type of liquid resembling rust around the bottom of your water heater tank, then it may be past its useful life and replacement is probably necessary. If there is no indicator as such, how long an Anode lasts depends on water conditions including pH level and mineral content. An Anode Rod will last about 2-3 years before it needs to be replaced.
When replacing an Anode Rod, always opt for a magnesium or aluminum rod as zinc rods are known to react with hard water which results in deteriorated performance . Aluminum Anodes corrode faster than Anodes made of other metal combinations, but aluminum Anodes do not rust or scale buildup.