If you have a water heater that looks like a tank, it is made of metal. There are minerals in the water that break down the metal. These minerals can cause many problems for your tank. The anode rod is screwed into the top of the tank, and its purpose is to pull those elements to it in an effort to keep them away from the tank. However, this does cause the anode rod to break down and require replacement. It may take anywhere from three to five years for the rod to break down. There are many factors that lead to faster or slower decay. When the rod is not functioning, the tank itself can corrode or rust. It is essential that you know the health of your anode rod and change it when it’s time.
You can inspect your anode rod to determine if it needs to be changed. The signs of wear are obvious on the rod. Some of the factors that wear down your anode rod are:
- If you use a water softener, it can speed up corrosive behavior. You should inspect your anode often. You may want to consider electrical anode replacement options.
- If you have acidic water, this may cause your anode rod to deteriorate faster.
- If your water heater makes popping noises when it begins to heat, this could mean there is mineral sediment hardened on it.
- If your water heater is about five years old, you should change your anode rod. If you do not know the age, there may be a label on it telling you the age. Sometimes it has a code on it that the website can decipher for you.
- If the aerator (the screen that is attached to the end of your faucets) on your faucet becomes clogged often, or there is a slimy substance on the aerator, this is a sign that you should check your anode.
- If you smell a nasty odor that smells like rotten eggs, you want to check your anode. This smell occurs because there is a large amount of sulfur in the water. You usually see your water become black or brown when this happens.
- If you notice the water in your house is not getting as hot as in the past, you want to check your anode. This decrease in temperature may happen because there is a problem with the heating element, or there could be a large amount of sediment at the bottom of the heater.
- If your water begins to look rusty, it means there might be corrosion on your water heater. This corrosion can happen when the anode rod is needing to be replaced.
- If you see any cracks or corrosion on your water heater, it is time to have the entire water heater, including the anode rod, checked. You may see rusty spots on your floor, a rusted pan, or runs that are rust-colored near the heater.