Most hot water tanks these days are good for about a decade. That’s not bad at all. But there’s the thing: you can actually MAKE IT LAST LONGER. The solution is extremely simple: change the anode.
What is an anode?
An anode is something that you couldn’t see immediately, as it’s not found on the exterior of the water tank. To be exact, it’s in the center of the inside of the tank. Why is it there in the first place? This thin rod that is usually made from magnesium is used to ensure that the steel cylinder that makes up the tank, as well as that keeps the water hot over a period of time, doesn’t corrode. When it does, it means you have to change not only the rod but the entire water tank! In other words, the anode is the reason why your tank is able to last longer—or not.
Anodes have a typical life span of about 4 to 5 years, especially in Australia because of good-quality water. The number of anodes attached to the water tank can also be one or two, usually depending on the size of the storage. Once the anodes are damaged and they are not replaced immediately, corrosion will then set in on the cylinder.
Why does corrosion happen?
This may sound quite technical so hold on. Most of the water heaters these days run on electricity. It’s common for small amounts of electric current to get into the inner portions of the tank, passing through the anode before it releases ions right into the water. The presence of the anode makes sure that other major areas of the tank such as the walls remain cathodic, which means they don’t experience corrosion from electrical currents because the circuit has come to completion in these places. However, if the anode metal is destroyed, the steel cylinder of the tank stops becoming cathodic and therefore reacts to dissimilar metals. In the process, it becomes like an anode and starts to corrode, with the addition of water speeding up the creation of rust.
The anodes that are used by more modern water tanks are made from a special type of magnesium, which help create the right electrical reaction in the tank. By adding the anode into the tank, the electrical current will always go into a complete circuit, as it passes through the anode then to the wall of the tank.
What if you have old heaters?
A lot of the older heaters sadly do not have anodes, or if they do, they are also showing signs of depreciation. As long as the water that comes out of the water tank still remains clean, it can be fitted with the right anode. If it’s already brown, it means that the wall is already too rusty for you to use an anode, let alone keep the tank for a much longer time.
It is very important to remember, however, to choose the anodes properly. When it comes to our anode replacement services, we always use the one that is recommended and/or made by the manufacturer of the water tank. This way, your warranty still remains legitimate, and you won’t meet any future troubles at all.
Which ones have anodes?
Some brands such as Beasley, Zip, Solarhart, Rheem, and Hardie Dux already have sacrificial anodes in their heaters. All kinds of solar, gas, and electric mains-pressure water heaters also use them, especially if they are bonded by ceramic or enamel.
On the other hand, there are some water heater units that don’t. These include small instant water heaters that are tankless such as Rinnai and Bosch, as well as the water tanks that are attached to the ceiling. They may also be missing in water heaters with storage made from copper or stainless steel.
When is the best time to inspect an anode?
Do you have to check the anode every month or year? No, you don’t have to. As long as you buy heaters from recommended brands, you can check the anode within 4 to 5 years. One of the best ways to determine if the anode needs some changing is to check if you can see some wires. Underneath the anodes are wires, and the distance between them and the anode wall is about 4 inches. So when they are already exposed, it could mean that the anode has already deteriorated, and you need to replace it immediately.
Nevertheless, you don’t change the anodes only when you see the wires. Sometimes they retain the magnesium coating, but heavy mineral deposits are covering them. In this instance, you should consider replacing the anode.
How do you know how long the heater has been manufactured or used?
You can check the sticker that is attached to the heater. It provides a lot of information, including its date of creation. If you cannot find it, then try to see if you still have the receipt. Otherwise, you can check the color of the water or by manually inspecting the anode.
How do you fit the anode when there’s not enough room to do so?
If you have let a professional plumber install the water heater, then definitely there’s a good clearance for the headroom. But just in case there’s not enough room to remove the old anode and add the new one, you can break the old anode into section, and then use a new flexible anode.
Why should you let us replace the anodes?
Aside from the fact we have the technical skills and knowledge of anode replacement, all our anodes are backed by a money-back guarantee. If the water heater doesn’t work in less than 12 months after we have installed the anode, you can get your refund. Meanwhile, if it does, then it means we’ve changed it just in time, and the heater’s life can extend for a few more years.
To take advantage of this offer, however, we should be able to expect the water heater prior to the installation.