Replacing your anode rod at regular intervals may increase the life of your water heater, saving you money, time and the inconvenience of having to replace your water heater. One of the most important considerations in having a normal life span for your water heater is whether the anode rod is performing it's job - to divert corrosive action away from the tank walls to the anode rod. This is why they are known as sacrificial anode rods. Depending on the needs of the user, there are several options when making a selection. Magnesium, Aluminum, or a combination of Aluminum, Zinc, and Tin are the most common; there are also flexible options for low ceiling clearance or difficult access points, and hot water outlet styles for additional protection or for those who cannot remove their existing anode. The condition of your anode rod (and whether it is time to replace it) depends upon your water quality, how much the water heater is used, the running temperature, and of course the craftsmanship of the tank itself; it is also good to note that water softened with sodium often equals a shorter life for an anode rod, so being aware of all the factors that affect the anode rod will help you to keep your water heater in top working order.
Our anode rods are designed for standard 3/4" NPT water heaters
Water Heater Anode Rods - Additional Information
Aluminum Anode Rods - Least expensive of the anode rods we offer and normally corrode at a slower rate than other anode rods. Most water heater manufacturers install these in their water heaters as standard equipment.
Magnesium Anode Rods - Normally corrode at a slightly faster rate than most anode rods, but dissolved magnesium in water can offer many health benefits.
Aluminum/Zinc/Tin Anode Rods
- This combo rod is designed to fight some foul water odors that can occur in water heater systems that use aluminum or magnesium anode rods. Please read our FAQ for more information regarding water odor.
Hot Water Outlet Style Anode Rods - This style of anode rod installs into the hot water outlet of the water heater and yet allows the water to still flow through the outlet. These allow the installation of an anode rod for those instances when the normal anode rod has corroded too much causing the steel to rust or corrode in such a way it is now impossible to remove the old rod. Or, for those who just wish to add a second anode rod into the water heater for better protection. Please note: Some water heater hot outlets can have a calcium build up inside the outlet, or the tank may have not been properly bored out underneath the outlet opening, possibly causing interference with this rod slipping into the water heater.
Hot Water Outlet Aluminum/Zinc/Tin Anode Rods - Contain a built-in heat trap nipple with a fluoroplastic ball that sinks inside the nipple, into a seat, as water flow stops. This is designed to keep any cooling hot water from entering back into the water heater potentially cooling the water heater down. The seat is equipped with a safety relief port. When water is not flowing, heat is effectively trapped in the water heater reducing standby heat loss.
Hot Water Outlet Aluminum Anode Rods - Least expensive of the hot water outlet styles, this particular anode rod has a built-in dielectric nipple (no ball or seat) allowing less water restriction than a heat trap nipple.
Flexible Anode Rods
- Used when access to the top of the water heater has limited clearance due to any obstruction such as low ceilings in closets, attics, under stairwells or in basements. The anode rods are manufactured into three or four sections connected with a solid steel wire or stainless steel braided wire. The Flexible Aluminum Anode Rod has three sections of aluminum attached to a solid 1/8" low carbon steel center wire core. The aluminum will corrode and disintegrate before the steel wire can. The Ultra Flexible Magnesium Anode Rods have four sections of magnesium on a steel rod. The sectional connections are made with copper couplers and 301 stainless steel braided wire providing greater flexibility during installation.
One of the most critical factors in how long a water heater will last is the condition of the water heater sacrificial anode rod.
Do you know the condition of your anode rod?
||Top reasons to replace your anode rod:
- You want your water heater to last a long time
- It will cost you less to replace the anode rod than your water heater
- Water softeners can accelerate anode rod corrosion
- The water heater makes loud or multiple popping noises when heating up
- Your water heater is more than 5 years old
- Acidic water can accelerate anode rod corrosion
- Your faucet aerators seem to clog more frequently
- You or your spouse notices a slimy gel substance when cleaning the faucet aerator
- Your hot water starts smelling like "rotten egg" odor
Compare the new water heater anode rod on the left (what we sell) to a one year old anode-rod.
If an anode rod looks any more deteriorated than the picture on the right, we suggest that you replace that anode rod with a new one.
The used anode rod shown on the right has deteriorated to a condition where it will probably need to be replaced soon.
Waiting a long time is not a good idea. The possibility of the old water heater anode rod becoming broken off,
and then falling to the bottom of the water heater (and then bouncing around whenever water travels inside the water heater) is what will deteriorate the water heater tank lining very quickly. This will cause cracks in the glass lining of the water heater radically shortening the life of the water heater. Having a depleted anode rod and not replacing your water heater anode rod in a timely fashion WILL shorten the life span of your water heater.
Please note that the condition of your water and the quality of the water heater lining are two other factors that affect the life span of your water heater.
Anode rods installed into water heaters by the manufacturers will generally be made of magnesium or aluminum that is wrapped around a steel core wire.
Water heater anode rods are generally screwed into the top of the tank.
In order for the anode rod to work correctly the anode rod must possess a lower, more negative, electrochemical potential than that of the water heater's steel composition to be protected. The negatively charged electrons create a higher voltage to flow from the anode rod to the steel tank causing the anode rod to corrode instead of the steel water heater tank, or other exposed metals such as electric elements. The anode rod is "self-sacrificing" and will continue to corrode until eventually it must be replaced.
When there's no sacrificial metal left on the anode, the tank can rust out.
Anode rods generally last about five years but it really depends mostly on the quality of your
water and how much water travels through your water heater.
When sodium is added to the water (such as when a water softener is used), anode rods can
corrode more quickly. Water softeners can help reduce scale build-up and sediment, but anodes can corrode in as
little as six months if the water is over-softened.
Unpleasant taste or odor coming from your hot water outlets can be caused by natural occurring iron bacteria in the water. This condition is usually more common in private or municipal well systems. According to the Minnesota Department of Health (Iron Bacteria in Well Water) iron bacteria are not known to cause disease, but can cause unpleasant odor, stains and tastes in the water. Iron bacteria does not produce hydrogen sulfide, the "rotten egg" smell, but can cultivate an environment where sulfur bacteria can grow and produce hydrogen sulfide (the rotten egg smell). Certain water conditions will cause a reaction with magnesium or aluminum anode rods to produce a "rotten egg" smell. By replacing the magnesium or aluminum anode rod with a combination aluminum/zinc/tin anode rod you may help decrease this smell, but it may not eliminate it completely.
As Aluminum anode rods corrode they can produce an aluminum oxide deposit normally found at the bottom of water heaters, but occasionally make it into the main water supply and into faucet aerators. The aluminum oxide forms a virtually odorless "gel" substance that can vary in texture from a firm somewhat sticky curd to a thick running slurry. The gel can be either milky or clear and is often mixed with other water heater deposits such as scale, rust, or tiny sediment particles. When replacing your anode rod it's a good idea to also flush your water heater out to clean out any sediment, rust, or gel build-up accumulated at the bottom of the tank. You might also consider flushing your water heater out at least once a year as a normal maintenance procedure.
Water Heater Care Tips:
At least every three months (more frequently if poor water quality) drain some water from the W.H.
You can do this by following these simple steps:
- If electric water heater = shut-off the electricity
- If gas, turn down the gas valve to off
- Shut-off the cold water intake to the heater
- Open a Hot water faucet on any level above the water heater
- Open the bottom drain valve at the bottom of your water heater
- Drain enough water so that the water will run clear
- Shut the water faucet that you opened
- Open the cold water intake valve
- Run all the faucets in the house till no more air is sputtering out for at least 10 seconds
- Turn electricity/gas back on
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