Your water heater is one of the essential appliances in your home. It keeps your family warm and healthy and helps prevent your plumbing system from freezing up during extreme weather conditions. Proper maintenance is a worthwhile investment to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently. But do you understand the components of the system and why it’s so important to keep your water heater serviced?
Everybody knows that rust is deadly to anything made of metal. Given sufficient time, rust can eat right through metal, utterly destroying it. And this can happen in a relatively short period of time. Thinking about things logically, a water heater that is made of metal and contains water must be a prime suspect for this degradation to take place.
Rust is the result of an electrochemical process, which causes metals to be oxidized. This, in turn, causes the rust to form, which eventually results in the metal corroding away. The process causes the electrons to flow away from the metal, which then causes the metal loss.
If you want to think of this in different terms, you could use the analogy of a bully in a school playground. A bully will always attack the child he sees to be the weakest. When it comes to water and metal, the same concept holds true. This is why anode rods were invented. These rods are made of different, stronger metals that actually lose significantly more electrons when in contact with water. The bully sees this as a weakness and so continually attacks the rod, leaving the surrounding steel casing relatively unscathed.
Over time, the anode rod will, of course, perish and corrode away to nothing. Once this has happened, your water heater is totally at the mercy of nature. The weaker steel casing of your water heater will become the number-one target for the bully. On average, an anode rod will last for about five years, although this is dependent on the water conditions within your particular area.
A good plumber will know the signs and symptoms of a failing anode rod, and once spotted, this is a relatively quick and straightforward replacement job. However, if you decide against regular inspections and maintenance, it could prove an expensive mistake in the long term, as new water heaters are not a cheap purchase.
There are three different types of anode rods, and we have listed the pros and cons of each below:
At Staggs Plumbing, we are experts in both electric and gas tankless water heaters. We understand the importance of having your water heater serviced regularly. As we head into color temperatures, be sure to schedule your inspection so you’re ready to keep going through the winter, and your family stays warm. Contact us today.