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Spoil The Rod, Spare The Tank: The Sacrificial Rod In Your Water Heater

Posted: June 8, 2020

anode rod massachusetts

When water and steel get together, it usually doesn’t end well for steel.

So why doesn’t your water heater’s storage tank corrode in just a couple of years with all of that water sitting inside of it?

In large part, it’s thanks to a small component called an anode rod.

The purpose of the anode rod

This simple device – usually consisting of a steel core wire coated in layers of aluminum, magnesium or zinc – is designed to draw the corrosion process to itself rather than the tank lining. By “taking one for the team,” it preserves the structure of the tank (the anode rod is often referred to as the “sacrificial rod” for this reason).

An anode rod will usually last about five years, depending how much water typically circulates through the tank and how hard (that is, how much mineral content) your municipal or well water is. If you use a water softener, an anode rod will last about half as long.

Once your anode rod has worn out, your tank will corrode quickly – and since replacing an anode rod is a lot cheaper than replacing your storage tank, it’s best to stay on top of the problem. The best way to do that? Get your water heater professionally maintained about once every other year.

Stay on top of water heater maintenance with expert water heater service from Pioneer Oil and Propane. Contact our pros today to learn more about maintenance for your oil-or gas-fired water heater, or water heater service and installations in Worcester County, MA.

Please note: At Pioneer, your safety and comfort are always our priority. Please see our COVID-19 Service Update Page to learn more about how we are working to keep your family and our crews safe and your home comfort equipment working during this challenging time.