Your anode is your water heater’s best friend and helps protect it against the scourge that is corrosion and rust. In a nutshell, your anode’s role is to selflessly sacrifice itself in order to extend the life of your water heater. It’s why we’re grateful for anodes and why replacing your anode when it is necessary is not up for debate or delay. Read on to find out more about the importance of replacing your anode when the need arises.
Selfless sacrifical anodes
Sacrificial anodes are highly active metals that are used to prevent a less active material surface from corroding. Sacrificial anodes are created from a metal alloy (magnesium, aluminium or zinc) with a more negative electrochemical potential than the other metal it will be used to protect.
When to replace your anode
The choice to replace your anode is an investment but it is one that we have to acknowledge needs to be made at regular intervals. The recommended period for changing the anode in your hot water system is usually every 3 to 4 years. This will vary across different areas and applications. Alternatively, it can be replaced when half of it has been corroded.
Before replacing your anode make sure to check your warranty and its accompanying conditions as the replacing of the anode could render the warranty void. If you are still unsure or simply require assistance make sure to contact a team of professionals.
Signs & symptoms of a compromised anode
While you can wait for the recommended 3 to 4 years, it is also useful to be able to recognise that an anode needs replacement by noting its characteristics after you have removed it from your water tank and examined it.
In most cases, if you can see 6 inches of the steel core wire underneath it is time to replace the anode. In addition, if the anode rod has become just steel core wire then replacement should be done straight away.
There are some rods that are non-functional. If a few weeks go by and there is no change in the appearance of the rod at all then it is not performing its role and bearing the brunt of corrosion to preserve your tank. If this is the case then you will want to consider replacing it.
Aluminium rods require special attention, particularly when it is nearly time to replace them. These rods can often break up into little pieces as they reach the end of their useful lives. Keeping an eye out for these floating pieces will help alert you to a need for anode replacement.
What does an anode look like when it needs to be replaced?
The appearance of an anode that needs replacement will vary depending on how long you have left the anode in your hot water system. The picture below, however, does provide you with a general impression of what your anode will look like when you change it.
Better sooner than later
The decision to change your anode is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly because if it is left too late then the cost you will incur will increase drastically. This is because the cost of a new hot water system is more than 10 times the price of a new anode.
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Anodes can be manufactured from a number of different materials which is why understanding their respective properties and applications is of critical importance. It will allow you to get the right anode for your specific requirements. The most common metals that are used in the manufacture of anodes include zinc, aluminium and magnesium. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at the properties of magnesium, how it works and the applications it is recognised for.