Many water heaters have a glass lining that is designed to protect the metal parts from corroding. Eventually, the coating may crack. For this reason, the tanks are fitted with anode rods which serve as the second defense against rust because they work by pulling corrosive elements from the water. Since all metals fall in the class of galvanic scale of reactivity, whenever two of them are connected physically in water, the less reactive one will disintegrate to protect the other. Typically, steel tends to corrode faster than copper, so when oxidation occurs in the anode rod, it fails to do its job, causing the tank to rust.

If you discover that your water heater is giving out rusty water, it could be an indication of the tank rusting away, which may soon be followed by leakage. When the walls of the tank start to rust and the rod fails, sediments form at the bottom and could alter the performance of water heaters. It is, therefore, essential to hire an expert to clean and replace the anode to prevent the buildup of rust.

anode-rod-causing-rusty-water-hot-water-tanks

The Hidden Ingredient

The rod is screwed at the top of the tank, meaning it can easily be unfastened and replaced. Its life depends on the use of the tank, the quality of water, temperatures, and the construction quality of the reservoir. When salt and water softeners are added to the water, the anode is likely to corrode quickly. If you need to soften your water, it is vital to hire plumbers who are experienced with installing hot water tanks in Saskatoon homes to add the right amounts of the required agents. Over softening the water can cause the anode rod to rust in as little as six months.

Replacing the Anode

With your limited expertise, it is not advisable to carry out an anode replacement. First, understand there are various types of rods, making it tough to identify the right ones. The rods may be made of magnesium or aluminum, with the latter being the better choice, though more expensive. The moment the rod crumbles, water begins to react with the steel, leading to rust. When replaced on time, an anode can last for up to five years. Anode rods require periodic replacements by qualified plumbers since they will deteriorate after some time. An aluminum rod, for instance, can split after swelling, making it impossible to remove it without breaking, especially if the tank is old and corroded.

Sources:

Does Discoloration in Hot Water Mean a Water Heater Is Going Bad? SF Gate

Repairing Water Heater Anode Rods, Home Repair Central