The inside of your home's hot water tank is a dynamic place. Water and steel are not good partners, and corrosion is always a threat. Yet, engineers have come up with a smart way to limit potential damage and ensure that your tank will last as long as possible. To do this, they insert a special rod made (typically) from magnesium that's designed to corrode much faster than anything else. Why do you need to pay attention to this rod from time to time if you want to get full value out of your tank?
Process of Self-Sacrifice
This rod is known as a "sacrificial" anode. It starts out as a steel wire that is coated with magnesium, or sometimes aluminium or zinc. When the tank was built, the manufacturer would have screwed this anode rod into the top of the tank so that it protrudes down into the water. It will then be subject to the laws of electrolysis, where it will attract rust and contamination much more quickly than any other internal component.
As time goes by, the anode rod will deteriorate and will be gradually eaten away. It may last a few years, but much will depend on the type of water and how much water your household uses. Certainly, if your area features soft water and has a high concentration of minerals, expect the anode rod to wear down very quickly.
When the rod deteriorates past a certain point, it will begin to lose its effectiveness. In fact, the internal steel wire may be exposed, and when this happens, damage can be caused to the top of the tank where the rod is attached. Also, other components may start to corrode very quickly, and you may soon need to replace the entire tank.
Getting the Rod Replaced
These days it may be possible to replace a sacrificial anode rod by yourself, but you need to inspect it first to see if it is time to do so. It may be better to entrust this work to experts instead, as they will be able to make quick work of any replacement and give your tank full service at the same time.
Keeping an Eye on Things
So remember, a sacrificial anode rod can only last so long before it is completely ineffective and possibly counter-productive. You need to get it changed before that moment rolls along, so you should chat with your plumber to get their advice.
For more information, contact a plumbing service that provides hot water repairs.
If I didn't know better, I'd think my toddler started each day with a challenge to throw something new and different down the toilet. He has managed to put nearly anything can imagine down the toilet. I have gotten pretty good at figuring out what has gone missing down the loo and whether it's something I can fix or something that I need to call the plumber to help me fix it. This blog is for other mums of toddlers who need to get toys out of the toilet and get the toilet back to working condition as soon as possible!