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Serving the South Puget Sound and Western Washington Areas Since 1976

Serving the South Puget Sound and Southwest Washington Areas Since 1976

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Sunset Air Blog

What You Need to Know about Your Anode Rod

Rust is the bane of any system that deals with water, with the risk being greater the more water the system handles. Considering that your water heater deals with water constantly, from the time it’s installed onward, rust should be pretty much inevitable. However, if properly maintained your water heater will likely never have to deal with a serious rust problem. How is that possible? Because of a part called the anode rod. Read on to find out more about the anode rod, and why you need to have it checked annually.

The Anode Rod

The anode rod is a long metal rod, usually composed of magnesium or aluminum formed around a steel wire. The rod is inserted into the storage tank of the water heater, and slowly degrades as long as it’s in contact with the water. The anode rod participates in a process called electrolysis, by which it attracts the ions that normally cause rust in the lining of the water heater tank. As long as the anode rod is in the tank, it will be protected from rusting. However, this protection doesn’t last forever.

The anode rod will eventually degrade to the point where it can no longer attract ions, at which point the water heater tank will again be vulnerable to rust. So the anode rod needs to be checked and replaced if necessary at least once a year. This is part of the reason why it’s so important to schedule preventive maintenance for your water heater. Otherwise, you run the risk of rust spreading across the tank until it ruptures. That means hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs, not to mention replacing the tank itself.

If you want to schedule maintenance for your water heater tank, call Sunset Air. We offer water heater maintenance services throughout Olympia, WA.

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