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  • G&C Plumbing and Heating

Water Heater Anode Rod Replacement – How Often Should I Replace the Anode Rod?

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Corrosion is the #1 killer of water heaters.

Even a high-quality water heater can fail prematurely if it’s not properly maintained and protected against rust. And periodic anode rod replacement is the best way to protect your heater, maintain it, and get the most out of your investment.

Learn more below, and see how often you should replace the anode rod in your gas water heater or electric water heater.

What Is a Water Heater Anode Rod? Why Is Anode Rod Replacement Important?

The anode rod is a metal rod, normally no longer than 44 inches (sometimes 53 inches), that protects your water heater from rust and corrosion. It’s usually made of zinc, magnesium, aluminum, or a combination of these metals.

The purpose of the anode rod is to be more reactive to corrosion than the steel of your hot water tank. Metals like zinc, magnesium, and aluminum are used to make anode rods. Through the process of electrolysis, the anode rod corrodes in place of your water tank.

What this means is that, as long as your anode rod is in good condition, it will corrode before your steel water tank. This is its purpose.

However, once the anode rod has fully corroded, the steel tank will start to rust and corrode.

That’s why routine anode rod replacement is important.