You are going to be needing your water heater very soon, which means you may need an anode rod replacement. Even among do-it-yourself-ers, it can be a confusing task. A lot is at stake if it is performed incorrectly or not at all. Below, we will tell you everything you need to know about the how’s, when’s, and where’s of anode rod replacement.
What is an Anode Rod?
An electrical current occurs between metals when different types contact each other. Water heaters contain various metals found in the steel tank walls, copper piping, and brass fittings. These metals erode over time due to this electrochemical reaction.
To evaluate and reduce this process, water heater manufacturers incorporate an Anode Rod. An Anode Rod is a water heater component that helps to prevent internal corrosion in the unit. The rod is built to attract corrosive elements in water and dissolve them. An Anode Rod is ordinarily magnesium or aluminum, but it may also be a combination of metals. It is commonly wrapped around a steel wire or thin rod and allows the electrochemical reaction to attack it instead of essential components in the water heater. The anode rod lengthens the life of the tank’s liner by slowing corrosion, and nearly all water heaters used in homes and businesses contain them.
Should I Replace My Anode Rod?
Yes! Replacing your anode rod will increase the life and performance of your water heater, saving you the money, time, energy, and the hassle of replacing a water heater. It is essential to know your water heaters needs before choosing an anode rod in aluminum, magnesium, or other material. Anode Rods come in many options for situations such as difficult access points, low clearances, and outlet styles.
The condition and longevity of your anode rod can deteriorate due to many factors including:
- Bad quality of tap water.
- How often and how much hot water is used.
- High running temperature of the water heater.
- Water heater craftsmanship and quality.
- Use of water softeners, which shorten the life of your anode rod.
- The water heater makes loud popping noises as it heats up.
- Your water has a foul odor.
- The faucet aerators tend to clog more frequently than usual.
- You notices a slimy gel substance when cleaning the faucet aerator.
It is time to change your Anode Rod when you notice a change in your water quality or whenever your water heater owner’s manual recommends it.
Which Rod Should I Choose?
Magnesium Anode Rods – They are cost-efficient, yet tend to last less than aluminum or aluminum/zinc/tin rods due to the higher voltage they create. However, the dissolved magnesium that ends up in the water can offer health benefits.
Aluminum Anode Rods – They can be the least expensive but create the lowest voltage in the unit. They corrode at a slower rate and are often the ones found in existing water heaters.
Aluminum/Zinc/Tin Anode Rods – When a foul odor is present in the water heater, this combination of metals is effective. They create a natural anti-fungal element to reduce iron bacteria growth that smells like a rotten egg.
Collapsible Anode Rods – These are ideal for water heaters with little to no clearance.
How to Replace an Anode Rod
Experts suggest you check your anode rod every one to two years. A good anode rod can last for up to five years, depending on the usage and other factors listed above. Check your anode rod for signs of exposed steel or a calcium carbonate covering. These are signs that it is time to replace them. You don’t want a corroded anode rod to break off in the tank. It will fall to the bottom and can damage the unit’s inner walls and drastically shorten its life.
Here are the steps to changing an anode rod. We highly recommend that only a qualified technician with the requisite skills perform the task.
- Turn off the fuel and water supply to water heater whether gas or electricity.
- Partially drain your water heater.
- Use your owner’s manual to locate the anode rod. You may need to unscrew the cover from the top of the unit.
- Use a ratchet wrench or similar tool to unscrew the anode rod from your unit.
- Stubborn anode rods can be removed by slipping a steel pipe onto a ratchet wrench handle for added leverage.
- Remove and discard the old rod.
- Slowly turn the water and power supply back to the water heater. Be sure there are no leaks.
Schaible’s Anode Rod Replacement
Our plumbers are experts at selecting and replacing anode rods of all types. We are proud to serve our community including northern & central New Jersey and Eastern PA – including Hunterdon County, Warren County, Somerset County, and Morris County. Contact us to get a free, no-obligation quote on your anode rod.