The Importance Of Having Plumbers Evaluate Water Heater Anode Rods

Many homeowners never bother with routine water heater maintenance, only calling for assistance if a problem develops. However, plumbers recommend having the anode rod replaced occasionally. This extends the lifespan of the heater by preventing corrosion and sediment buildup. The work is especially important in homes with high dissolved mineral content in the tap water.

About Anode Rods

Anode rods inside water heater tanks are simple yet essential devices. The rod typically just consists of magnesium or aluminum wrapped around a steel cable or wire. It catches dissolved minerals through an electrochemical process. This keeps those substances away from the tank walls and floor, thus preventing corrosion. The rod itself gradually becomes corroded and deteriorates, though. That reduces its effectiveness, and minerals accumulate elsewhere in the tank.

The Best Strategy

After homeowners have a water heater installed, the best strategy is to have a plumber evaluate the anode rod within a few years. The plumber first drains the tank. Next, this skilled worker determines how much damage has occurred to the cover and the amount of steel wire now visible. The customer might be interested in viewing the device to see how this process occurs. 

When the anode rod has not been replaced for many years, it may no longer have any functionality. In that case, the plumber will want to partially fill the tank and drain it again, allowing additional accumulated sediment to flush away. Now the old rod can be removed and a new one installed. This is an ideal time for the plumber to check over valves and other devices to find worn parts that could spring a leak.


If hard water is a problem, a plumber can add a softener to the system. Like the anode rod, the softener increases the lifespan of the water heater by removing dissolved minerals. It boosts the longevity of the washing machine as well. Households that prefer the taste of minerals in drinking water could ask the plumber to only hook up the softener to the heater. This technique has the additional advantage of preventing soft water from being wasted at outdoor spigots.

Concluding Thoughts

Effective management of the dissolved mineral content in the water heater can significantly extend its lifespan. That saves money for homeowners, who can delay replacing the appliance for years beyond what would otherwise be required. A functioning anode rod is a crucial component in the prevention of tank corrosion. Having plumbers check the device on occasion and replace it as needed is the best strategy.

Reach out to a plumber for assistance with your anode rod.