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Water Heater Parts: The Sacrificial Anode Rod

Delivering Quality Comfort to the Homes and Businesses of Hartford County and New Haven County

Although water heaters occupy a lot of space in the home, they actually operate in a somewhat simple manner. First, water enters the top of the tank through a long tube that leads all the way to the bottom. There is a burner underneath the water heater if it runs on gas, or there is an electric heating element at the bottom and toward the top of an electric water heater. Due to the heat rising principle, hot water rises to the top of the tank over the denser cold water and through a small tube at the top when a hot water tap turns on. It’s not very often that these units need repair, but you may need to replace the entire unit if it begins to rust.

Whenever steel equipment comes into contact with water, rust and corrosion becomes possible. The only elements that must be present for something to rust are oxygen, water, and iron or one of its alloys (like steel). With a water heater, corrosion is possible, but a tank lining should deter the tank from forming any holes for a while. However, this lining can wear down over time, and rusting is still possible, except for the presence a preventive piece called the anode rod.

The anode rod is a component that prevents the tank from rusting by attracting the particles that lead to corrosion. The anode rod should wear away slowly over time, and eventually, there won’t be anything there to draw away corrosion from the tank.

Unfortunately, in some cases, homeowners neglect to service the water heater and it corrodes anyway. Occasional maintenance is an important step in preventing rust and corrosion. You can have a technician visit your unit and make any necessary adjustments to the burners and electric heating parts. They’ll also clean any dirty heating parts, as these could make the water heater less efficient. Finally, they’ll inspect every portion of the water heater and replace the dip tube if necessary.

Calling Dynamic Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning for regular water heater maintenance helps to prevent premature water heater replacement in Bristol. Give us a call to check on the state of the sacrificial anode rod in your water heater today.

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