If you have a water heater that is a tank type; it definitely has an anode rod inside the tank system. To those who are not familiar with the components of a water heating system; an anode rod is a metallic shaft that protects the other important parts of the tank from rusting and corrosion. It safeguards the tank components by sacrificing itself and absorbing all the rusts. The anode rod won’t last for a long time and you need to replace the rod when it rusts. Checking the rod every three years is standard maintenance so be sure to do this.
Leaving a rusted anode rod in the tank will cause the heating system to be more prone to corrosion and rust; so it’s important to check the rod and replace it if it’s too covered in calcium or rust. If you plan on replacing your anode rod; you should know that it has many different types. By knowing the kinds of anode rod; you will also know which one will be the best to install for the current demands of your water heater. Here are the most common types of anode rods for your tank-type water-heating system.
Majority of modern water heaters have magnesium anode rods installed. Magnesium is preferred by water heater manufacturers because it has great durability and doesn’t cause any harmful or poisonous effects on the water supply. Albeit, there are a few issues with this type of anode rod. First of all, it doesn’t do too well if installed in a heating system that has a hard water supply. Hard water has plenty of minerals which deteriorate the rod faster than usual. Aside from that, this type of water supply causes fast sediment build-up due to the high concentration of minerals. If you have a magnesium anode rod in your water heater; you should also consider installing a water softener to lower the mineral content of your water supply. This will help the lifespan of the magnesium anode rod and lower the frequency of required replacements.
Before magnesium rods were prevalently setup in water heating systems; it was aluminium anode rods that were commonly installed. Aluminium can last long on hard water which makes it more superior than magnesium in terms of durability. The reason why aluminium isn’t widely used today is because of health concerns. There are actually dangerous and toxic effects of aluminium in the water supply; which is why it’s rarely applied in water heaters today. There are anode rods mixed with a fraction of aluminium which doesn’t pose any health concerns since the rod isn’t made of pure aluminium.
Zinc rods are actually a cross between aluminium and zinc. These rod types are perfect If your water heater has sulphur odour. The zinc lowers the bacterial growth and action in the water heater tank. It’s the bacteria that are causing your heating system to reek of sulphur. Zinc anode rods aren’t usually installed in a water heater but it certainly has a specialised feature that you should definitely remember.