What Is the Anode Rod, and Why Is It Important?

Water heaters are in contact with large amounts of water from the time they are installed onward. That level of water exposure almost invariably leads to rust and eventually to structural collapse. Since your water heater is always interacting with so much water, why is it that it doesn’t rust out and rupture after only a couple of years? The answer is a component known as the anode rod. The anode rod is a vital part of your water heater system. Let’s take a closer look at what it is, and how it protects your water heater.

The Anode Rod

The rod itself is a long metal part, typically made of aluminum, magnesium, or zinc. It is inserted into the water heater tank, typically through a hole in the top. As long as the rod is in contact with the water in the tank, it will slowly degrade over time. As long as the anode rod is degrading, the water heater tank will be safe from rust. However, that protection does not last forever.

Checking the Anode Rod

There will come a point when the anode rod degrades down to the steel wire at its core. When that occurs, there will no longer be enough of it remaining to protect the water heater tank from rusting. For this reason, most anode rods have to be replaced at least once a year. You can check the anode rod yourself, if you know where it is located on your water heater. If you are unsure, though, call us and we will check on it for you. If the anode rod is not replaced, your water heater will rust and could eventually rupture.

If you haven’t scheduled water heater maintenance yet this year, call Tim Beil Plumbing. We serve the entire Allentown, PA area.