Extending the life of your water heater can help save you money on Houston water heater repair and replacement. There are several ways you can care for your water heater to keep it in great condition. One of those ways is replacing your water heater anode rod. Replacing the anode rod regularly helps you avoid a rusted tank which requires Houston water heater repair or replacement. Learn more about water heater anode rods and how they help stop your tank from rusting.
Worn Anode Rods Could Mean More Frequent Houston Water Heater Repair and Replacement
Your water heater tank is likely made of steel. The minerals in your water can rust and corrode steel and, therefore, your water heater. Most water heaters have a glass lining to help protect the tank, but these obviously crack over time. If this is the case, then why don’t you need Houston water heater repair every few months? The answer is your anode rod.
Anode rods help rescue your tank from rust and corrosion. Most water heaters come with an anode rod pre-installed by the manufacturer. In most cases, this is a sacrificial anode rod, which is made of metal that attracts the corrosive elements of your water. When you place “sacrificial” metals in the water heater, then the minerals react with the rod instead of the steel tank or the metal heating element in electric water heaters. Therefore, anode rods help extend the life of your water heater.
However, with sacrificial anode rods, once they dissolve, they no longer prevent water heater tank corrosion.Sacrificial anode rods generally last between three and five years. However, water softeners can speed up anode rod deterioration. In some cases, it can even take less than six months for the anode rod to dissolve if you completely soften your water.
In addition, corroded anode rods can break off in to pieces. These can move around the bottom of your water heater tank and can damage the interior components, which will require Houston water heater repair to fix. Checking and replacing your sacrificial anode rods regularly can help prevent water heater issues.
Inspecting and Replacing Water Heater Anode Rods to Avoid Houston Water Heater Repair
To help prevent issues from worn anode rods, it’s best to have your Houston plumber inspect them at least once a year. A great time to do this is during your annual maintenance appointment when your plumber flushes the tank. However, if you use water softeners, you may need to check them more often than once a year.
You can inspect anode rods yourself quite easily as well. In most cases, all you will need to do is loosen the hex bolt at the top of your water heater. This bolt may be tight, so it may require some muscle or even a cheater bar to fit over your wrench. Once the bolt is loose, simply pull the anode rod up to see how much sacrificial metal is left. Once the wire core starts to show on your anode rod, you should replace it before you need Houston water heater repair for a rusted tank.
Types of Anode Rods to Help Prevent Houston Water Heater Repair
When it’s time to replace your anode rod, you’ll need to choose the type that’s best for your water heater. Your Houston plumber can help you decide based on your specific water heater and other factors. Additionally, your water heater manufacturer likely has recommended anode rod types for your specific water heater.
Sacrificial Anode Rods
Sacrificial anode rods are made of a sacrificial metal that attracts corrosive elements in your water. They are usually made of one of three common metals: aluminum, magnesium, and zinc. If you use hard water, aluminum is likely the best option for you. Aluminum anode rods are great for water with a lot of sulfates.
By contrast, magnesium anode rods are a better sacrificial option for soft water. While they’re usually a little more expensive, they work well with water with high levels of salts and chlorine. Sometimes, however, magnesium anode rods can create a reaction that produces hydrogen sulfide, which can make your water smell like rotten eggs.
If you have a sulfur-like smell in your water, then you may want to opt for a zinc anode rod. Zinc options are actually a combination of aluminum and zinc. The zinc in this rode can help manage the bacteria growth that is often the cause of rotten egg smells. Therefore, many home owners choose these rods to help neutralize odors in their water.
Powered Anode Rods
In addition to sacrificial anode rods, there are also anode rods that don’t corrode over time. Powered anode rods use electrical impulses to deal with corrosive agents in your water. Powered anode rods must be plugged into an electrical outlet to work properly, but don’t corrode over time the way sacrificial anode rods do. Therefore, there’s no need to replace the rod unless it breaks or malfunctions. This means less maintenance for you and a potentially longer lifespan for your water heater.
However, powered anode rods are more expensive than sacrificial anode rods. Additionally, you will need to have an outlet nearby to use a powered outlet. In some cases, powered anode rods may not be compatible with your water heater, so it’s important to check with the manufacturer or with your Houston water heater repair technician.
Most water heater manufacturers use sacrificial anode rods because they are inexpensive and don’t require electricity. However, powered anode rods are often easier and more effective if you use water softeners and have to replace sacrificial rods frequently. Your Houston plumber can help you determine the most practical anode rod for your needs.
At Santhoff Plumbing, we are an elite Houston plumbing company with the experience and knowledge you need for your home’s plumbing. We offer thorough, friendly, affordable plumbing services from water heater repair to gas line installation. Call us today at (713) 665-4997 to schedule a service call or at (281) 759-5000 for 24/7 emergency plumbing service. We are here to serve you!