FAQ: What Is An Anode Rod In A Hot Water Heater?

How do I know if my anode rod is bad?

A bad anode rod can cause discolored water, a rotten egg smell, air in the lines and intermittent hot water. The anode rod protects the tank of electric water heaters & signs it should be replaced are a rotten egg smell, no heat & strange sounds.

Do all hot water heaters have anode rods?

Anode rods are an essential component of tank-style water heaters. Most anode rods are sacrificial, meaning they are designed to corrode (instead of your water heater lining). Tankless water heaters don’t have anode rods, but all standard tank-style water heaters do.

Can you run a water heater without an anode rod?

Without a working anode rod, your water heater tank will be vulnerable to rust, corrosion, and other damaging effects of chemicals and minerals in your water supply.

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What is the purpose of an anode rod in a hot water heater?

An anode rod exists to protect the metal lining inside of your water heater tank to prevent explosion or corrosion over time. What Metals Are Used in Anode Rods? Anode rods are generally created from metals including magnesium, aluminum or zinc.

How much does it cost to replace anode rod?

An anode rod costs about $50. Some homeowners may feel comfortable replacing it themselves. If not, call a professional plumber, who can assist. The cost of having it replaced professionally may be around $250 or $300.

Is it worth replacing anode rod?

When the rod itself becomes so corroded that it can no longer do its job, the tank soon rusts out, leaks and needs replacement. However, if you replace your water heater anode rod before it fails, about every five years, you can double the life of your water heater.

Is it OK to remove anode rod?

Yes, you can cut your sacrificial anode rod, whether it is magnesium or aluminum, to replace it. To do this, use a pair of gloves and a saw and cut as you remove the old anode.

Can a bad anode rod causing rotten egg smell?

The most common cause of smelly water is anaerobic bacteria that exist in some water and react with the magnesium and aluminum sacrificial anodes that come with most water heaters to produce hydrogen sulfide gas, making the classic rotten egg odor. Softening can make smelly water much worse.

How often should I replace the anode in my hot water heater?

Most water heater manufacturers will recommend inspecting the condition of the sacrificial anode every one (1) to three (3) years and replacing it when it has been consumed more than 50%. This is especially true if you have hard water or use a water softener.

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Do water softeners destroy water heaters?

SHORT: Dont’ do it. It destroys tank water heaters. LONG: The ion exchange that happens inside the softener swaps calcium and magnesium for sodium. Sodium is a great conductor of electricity.

Which is better magnesium or aluminum anode rod?

For harder water an aluminum anode rod is the best choice for your heater and if you live in an area with soft water then a magnesium anode rod is your best choice. Aluminum anodes tend to be cheaper than magnesium anode rods. A magnesium rod will generally last less than an aluminum rod.

Will a bad anode rod make water smell?

Many anode rods are made of magnesium or aluminum. When these rods corrode, the metals react with the sulfates in the water, turning the sulfate into stinky hydrogen sulfide.

Why does my hot water smell like rotten eggs?

You are most likely on well water, and there is a bacteria, known as SRB (sulfate-reducing bacteria), that gets into water heaters and, although harmless to humans from a pure health perspective, creates the odor by digesting naturally occurring sulfur-based elements in the water, releasing tiny amounts of hydrogen

How do I know what size anode rod to buy?

As a rule you want the anode to be “tip to toe” running the full height or length of the tank. If you cant see your brand on the chart then just measure the length of the tank and pick the closest length of anode. If the anode is too long they can be simply cut to length with a hack saw.

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Are aluminum anodes better than zinc?

Driving voltage: Aluminium anodes has a relatively high driving voltage. This means that it provides better distribution of the current, compared with zinc. Environment: Aluminium anodes carry a better environmental footprint than zinc anodes.

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