Most households rely on their home's water heater many times a day. Since replacing a traditional tank water heater can be quite expensive, it is natural to want to ensure that your water heater lasts for as long as possible. One way to extend the life of your water heater is by ensuring that the anode rods inside the tank are in good condition. Anode rods are made of different types of metal that are designed to corrode faster than the steel used to make water heater tanks. Thus, making sure that the anode rods are changed as needed will help prevent the water heater tank from corroding and eventually cracking. Some of the common signs that you need to have the anode rods in your water heater replaced include:
Hot Water Looks a Little Rusty
A brand new anode rod looks similar to a normal pipe. However, over time it will begin to corrode due to being continually exposed to water. As the corrosion progresses, it is possible for the rust on the rod to slightly discolor the water inside the water heater. If you notice that your hot water suddenly looks discolored or slightly rusty, it is time to take action. This usually means that the anode rod is at the end of its lifespan and will no longer protect the water heater tank. Contact a plumber to inspect the anode rod and replace it with a new one.
Rattling Sound When Your Water Heater Is Running
If your water heater is making strange noises, you should never ignore them — they typically indicate that some type of repair is needed. When an anode rod becomes severely corroded, it can break off inside the tank. After this happens, the rod will move around in the tank and cause a rattling sound as it hits the sides of the water heater. A plumber can remove the broken anode rod and install a new one for you.
Your Hot Water Stinks
It can be alarming to turn on your hot water and discover that it has a very foul odor. If you find yourself in this type of situation, it could be due to the fact that the anode rod is failing and needs to be replaced. This is due to the fact that aluminum and magnesium are common components in an anode rod. As the anode rod breaks down and corrodes, the aluminum and magnesium will combine with sulfates that are naturally found in water to create hydrogen sulfide, which can have the nasty smell of rotten eggs.
If you notice any of these problems, contact a water heater repair service.