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Why Do Water Heaters Have A Sacrificial Anode?

A sacrificial anode rod is a metal wire that is placed inside the water heater to help heat up the water. It has one primary function: heating up water, and it only exists in order to achieve this single goal. This article will explain why water heaters have a sacrificial anode and how to replace them periodically.

What is a sacrificial anode rod?

The sacrificial anode rod is a metal that corrodes and deteriorates when exposed to electrochemical reactions. This process prevents the corrosion of other metals in the water heater, such as copper or aluminum which are typically used for this purpose. The most common types of rods include magnesium, nickel-copper alloy, zinc-copper alloy, and brass composite anodes.

The sacrificial anode rod in a water heater is a small and amazing component that keeps the tank running smoothly. It’s also responsible for keeping your water heater from rusting out due to the chemical makeup of the metal inside. The Anode Rod is made up of steel or aluminum, wrapped with magnesium or zinc, depending on what’s needed most at the time.

The sacrificial anode is a rod that corrodes quickly in order to shield another metal from corrosion. This can be magnesium or aluminum, depending on the specific model of the water heater. The electrical impulse rod provides corrosion protection without itself being corroded by circulating electricity through it and neutralizing any corrosive ions present within its structure.

Metal frameworks are protected against corrosion by using sacrificial anodes. Sacrificial anodes operate by oxidizing faster than the metal they are shielding, being totally consumed before the other metal interacts with the electrolytes.

Why Do Water Heaters Have A Sacrificial Anode?

Why do water heaters have a sacrificial anode?

The anode is a part of a water heater that can be replaced. It is the piece of metal on the outside of the tank that gets corroded, and it’s important to have one because corrosion damages pipes.

Water heaters have a sacrificial anode because, through an electrochemical mechanism, the sacrificial collects particles of iron, limestone, or other minerals present in the water and corrodes in place of the tank. In other words, it “sacrifices” itself to help the water heater last longer.

In a water heater, the sacrificial anode is used as a point of low current. The less noble metals corrode away and give off electrons that make electricity to power the heating element in your home.

This way you can use much more noble metal without worrying about it being eaten away by corrosion and stop pipes from getting damaged!

The purpose of this device is to slow down corrosion and prevent any negative effects from it, such as leaks or malfunctioning.

In order to get a premium warranty, you need to purchase a premium water heater with bigger sacrificial anodes which protect your pipes from corrosion for longer periods.

How often should a Sacrificial Anode rod be replaced?

The sacrificial anode rod is a thin metal conductor that acts as an electrical bridge between the two electrodes in the water heater. This rod’s purpose is to prevent corrosion of the cathode and it needs to be replaced periodically, depending on how well your system has been maintained. When this part corrodes, it will not only cause water damage but also reduce your heating capacity.

Anode rods typically last three to five years, although this is mostly dependent on the quality of your water and the amount of water that passes through your water heater.

You can lessen the likelihood of a leak, enhance the quality of your water, reduce water heater wear and tear, and save a lot of money by inspecting the condition of your anode rod and replacing it every three years.

How to replace the anode rod in a water heater

To replace an anode road in a water filter, you’ll need a bucket or hose to remove a few gallons of water, A high-quality 1-1/16″ 6-point impact socket, and Perhaps a helper or two. Follow the steps below to replace your sacrificial anode rod.

1. Turn off the water and power supplies

The gas line should be towards the bottom of your water heater. Turn the gas off by twisting the valve clockwise until it is perpendicular to the pipe. If you have an electric water heater, locate the breaker for it in the main service panel and turn it off.

Turn off the cold water supply after turning off the gas or electric power supply—usually, it’s on the right side of the machine, up near the top. A ball valve (handle that runs parallel or perpendicular to the pipe) or a gate valve can be installed in the cold water line (handle that you have to spin). In either case, turn the valve clockwise until it stops.

2. Remove Some Water

Drain a couple of liters of water—roughly 10% of the tank’s contents. You may use a big bucket or a garden hose to transfer the water outdoors. Connect the garden hose to the “boiler drain” on the tank’s bottom half.

Some boiler drains feature a handle, while others must be turned with a flathead screwdriver. Don’t remove too much water since the weight of a fully full tank will aid in the removal of the anode rod.

3. Find the Anode Rod

Attempt to locate the anode rod now. To find it, you may need to remove the complete top lid. Most of the time, the anode rod may be removed without removing the top cover. Look for the hex head on the unit’s top.

If there is a hex plug head on top, the size is always 1-1/16″. (27mm). This is a rather huge socket. If you don’t already have one, purchasing one is strongly suggested because you’ll need it to check the state of your anode rod on a frequent basis. Get the heavy-duty version!

4. Remove the Anode Rod by loosening the Hex Head.

The most difficult aspect will be loosening the hex head. It is not easy to remove an anode rod! It’s going to require a lot of strength. While the weight of the water in the tank should help, you may need to enlist the assistance of another person to hold the water heater while you remove the hex head.

Two or three persons are sometimes required to hold the water heater in place. Do not twist the water heater as this might cause damage to pipes and fittings.

Leverage is one method for releasing the bolt. To increase the length and leverage, place a tiny metal pipe piece above the impact socket.

Sometimes the anode rod is simply too difficult to remove. In this instance, seek the advice of a specialist.

You may remove the anode rod after loosening the hex head. If you have a low ceiling or limited space, you may have to bend the anode rod to remove it. If this is the case, ensure that you have a flexible/collapsible anode rod on hand to replace it.

5. Replace the Sacrificial Anode Rod

Wrap Teflon tape (plumber’s tape) around the new anode rod’s joint threads. Because most individuals don’t have enough room for a standard anode rod, purchase a collapsible anode rod instead.

Once you’ve inserted the anode rod, tighten it by hand until you can’t anymore. Then, with the socket wrench, tighten it up even further, about 1/2 turn, 180 degrees. Tightening too tightly may cause the water heater to shift or twist.

Here’s also a video to help you replace the sacrificial anode rod in your water heater.

Can you run a water heater without an anode rod?

Yes, you can run a water heater without a sacrificial anode rod. However, your water heater tank will be subject to rust, corrosion, and other detrimental impacts of chemicals and minerals in your water supply if it does not have a functioning anode rod.

The sacrificial anode rod is the most important factor in determining the life of a water heater. It’s responsible for stopping corrosion that can lead to rust and deterioration, thus extending the lifespan of your water heater.

The reason why this rod is so important is that it prevents any metal ions from getting into hot-water pipes by acting as a barrier between them and piping materials like copper or brass.

How long will the water heater last without an anode rod?

The anode rod is the only part of a water heater that can erode and corrode. The water heater will last longer if it has a sacrificial anode, which absorbs corrosion from the surrounding environment. However, without the sacrificial anode rod, your water heater could start corroding in two to three years of usage.

How much does it cost to have an anode rod replaced?

When the anode rod wears down, it affects the heater’s efficiency. This can be remedied by replacing it with a new one. Replacement of an anode rod in a water heater costs around $20 to $150 depending on your model. Aluminum anode rods are the most popular, with prices ranging from $20 to $40 on average. Before purchasing the anode rod, make a note of your water heater model and tank size (in gallons).

The anode rod of the water heater is a sacrificial element that protects the tank from corrosion. When it becomes corroded, it can be replaced for about $20-$150. Regular maintenance and service also contribute to how long they will protect your home’s water heater because regular siphon cleaning prevents rust build-up on them, which helps prolong their life span without having to replace them more often than necessary.

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Hi Guys, Mike is a Mechanical Engineer who specializes in Heating, Ventilation, and Air-conditioning. His love for humanity and his profession propels him to share useful and factual Information on this blog.

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