What Are The Signs I Need To Replace My Hot Water Heater’s Anode Rods?

What Are The Signs I Need To Replace My Hot Water Heater’s Anode Rods?

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Heated water is a luxury that we tend to take for granted. Water heaters usually last for about 8-15 years, but their lifespan can be increased simply with regular maintenance. Yes, really!

Luckily, there’s not much to do when it comes to water heater repair and maintenance. Just remember to drain and flush the storage tank of your hot water heater every six months. Also, don’t forget to get the water heater’s burner, valves, vents, and other components inspected by a licensed plumber in Phoenix at least once a year. And most importantly, don’t forget to change the anode rods every 3-5 years. Anode rods are arguably the most important water heater maintenance and repair element but, unfortunately, the most neglected one. 

What Are Anode Rods In Hot Water Heaters?

Anode rods lay hidden and forgotten in water heaters, but they’re actually what keeps your heater running in mint condition. These rods are the most important part of any tank-style water heater. They are labeled “sacrificial” because they literally sacrifice themselves for the sake of the hot water heater. They attract corrosive elements in the water by “galvanic corrosion,” wherein one metal is corroded preferentially over another. So basically, your anode rods are corroded instead of your actual water heater tank.

These anode rods come in various types and are designed to not only protect your heater from wearing out but also to reduce sediments at the bottom of the water heater tank.

       Magnesium anode rods are the most common and most efficient but corrode more quickly.

       Aluminum rods are long-lasting and inexpensive but not recommended for hard water.

       Zinc/Aluminum rods have 10% zinc mixed in Aluminum anode rods and get rid of bacteria very effectively.

       Electric anode rods are non-sacrificial and hence, don’t degrade.

These rods are usually interchangeable, but you should probably consult a licensed water heater repair expert in your district in Phoenix before you decide to switch.

Do I Need To Replace My Hot Water Heater Anode Rods?

If you suspect your anode rods need to be changed, you should take them out and examine them. If they seem “chewed up” or if you can see around 6 inches of the steel wire underneath the rods, it means your anode rods need to be changed. Ideally, you should check on your rods every year or call in a local expert in your area in Phoenix. This would help prevent any problems from developing into bigger issues. It’s a good idea to keep a lookout for these signs indicating a problem with your anode rods:

Do you use water softeners?

If you like to completely soften your water, beware because softening agents actually accelerate your water heater anode rods’ corrosion. This means you need to inspect the anode rods in your hot water heater every six months to make sure it’s all good. But if this bothers you, maybe consider contacting a specialist in your local Pheonix marketplace to have your rods replaced with electric ones.

Is your water acidic?

Acidic water also inflicts higher corrosive damage to your hot water heater anode rods. Thus, you will have to stay vigilant, or you could get electric anode rods fitted by a local plumber in Pheonix.

How old is your hot water heater?

If your water heater is older than 3-5 years, chances are your anode rods need to be replaced. If you’re not sure how old the heater is, just check the side of the heater for an alphanumeric code that represents the age of the system. Then head on over to your manufacturer’s website to interpret the code and decipher your water heater’s age.

Is your hot water heater noisy?

Water heaters are not supposed to be noisy. So if it seems like your heater is popping corn instead of heating water, you should probably check for potential corrosion or hardened mineral sediments on the floor of the tank. If there is indeed corrosion or deposition, it means new anode rods for your heater.

Are your aerators clogged?

Aerators are the screens at the end of your sink spout. Now, if there’s a slimy gel-like substance in these screens or they just get clogged more often, it calls for new anode rods!

Does your hot water smell?

This is one of the most obvious signs of rotten anode rods. An abundance of sulfur bacteria can cause your hot water to start smelling like a rotten egg! And to top it off, this foul smell is often accompanied by a dark brown or black coloration. If you experience this, change your water heater anode rods immediately!

Is your hot water heater not working?

If your water heater is not heating water as hot as it used to, you better check for degraded anode rods or excessive sedimentation. If they seem fine, you should try contacting a professional Phoenix plumber.

Is the water rusty?

If there are bits of rust in your hot water, dial your local Phoenix plumber before disaster strikes in the form of cracks and leaks- or worse, an explosion! The last thing you want is your hot water heater to explode and ruin all your stuff. Plus, no more hot water till you get a new water heater.  

Is It Really Necessary To Replace My Hot Water Heater Anode Rods?

A hot water heater without a functional anode rod is literally a summoning for disaster! Your hot water tank is metal and, thus, extremely vulnerable to not just rust and corrosion but also the harmful effects of the minerals and chemicals present in your water. Hot water heaters can be pretty darn expensive, and you don’t want it wasted over something as simple as replacing an anode rod. Water heater maintenance and timely repair will save you loads of money that you would otherwise need to replace the entire appliance. Just by staying watchful of anode rod replacement, you can nearly double your hot water heater’s lifespan. Yes, double! And obviously, you won’t have to worry about inefficient heating and unwelcome surprise cold water showers- yikes!

If your water heater starts cracking or leaking, it might already be too late to replace the anode rods, and you’ll just have to get a new hot water heater. Beware of water heater repair signs, and you won’t have to worry about explosions or leaks. Don’t put away calling your local Pheonix plumbing expert if there seems to be a problem. As they say, a stitch in time saves nine!

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