Any system that deals with large amounts of water must eventually deal with the problem of rust. With the amount of water that water heaters deal with on a regular basis, it’s a wonder that they last longer than a couple of years before rusting into a scrap pile. Why don’t they, though? What causes a water heater to last so much longer than it should, despite its exposure to that much water? Read on to find out.
The Anode Rod
The anode rod is the part that protects the water heater from rust. It is a long metal rod, usually comprised of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc, which is inserted into the water heater tank. While the anode rod is in contact with the water in the tank, it will attract the ions in the water that normally cause rust. This is a process called electrolysis. The anode rod degrades as the ions interact with it, but the lining of the water heater tank is kept completely safe from rust. This protection is quite effective, but it isn’t permanent.
Anode Rod Replacement
The anode rod will eventually degrade to a point where it can no longer attract the ions in the water, at which point it will need to be replaced. As long as there is not a functioning anode rod in the water heater tank, the system will be vulnerable to rust. Anode rods tend to last a little over a year before completely failing, which is why you need to make sure to schedule water heater maintenance at least once a year. Otherwise, you could find yourself replacing your entire water heater a lot sooner than you would think.
Sunset Air offers a full range of water heater repair services throughout Olympia, WA. Call today for an appointment with one of our experts.