A water heater plays an important role in the everyday function of your home’s plumbing system. Without it, you wouldn’t have a steady supply of hot water to bathe, wash dishes, or do laundry. You need to ensure the unit receives the proper care it requires, and one of the most critical maintenance tasks to stay on top of is replacing the anode rod. This is integral for extending the longevity of the tank. The following guide will help you understand how this component works so you can keep your water heater in top condition.

What Are Anode Rods? 

An anode rod is a steel core wire encased in magnesium, aluminum, or zinc metal. It’s placed inside a standard tank-style water heater, where it’s designed to slowly degrade over time. This is because the metal around the device attracts minerals and sediment that enter the water supply, preventing them from rusting or corroding the tank's interior lining. However, anode rods aren’t meant to last forever and must be changed out once they’ve been depleted. 

Why Are They Important?


Water is acidic, and since a heater tank is made of metal, it would completely rust through after being continuously exposed to moisture if the anode rod wasn’t there to protect it. A tank failure could cause serious water damage to your home, resulting in costly repairs. This could also leave you with the expense of installing a new water heater. 

Changing the anode rod every three to five years can keep your appliance running smoothly for up to 20 years. If you ignore this maintenance task, you may need to replace the tank after 10 years.

What Signs Indicate You Need a New One?

How long the anode rod lasts will depend on several factors, including the type of device that’s used, the water temperature, your home's hot water usage, and if you have a softener. Have a plumbing contractor perform an annual inspection to make sure the component is still working efficiently. Tell-tale signs of an expired anode rod include hot water that has a sulfuric odor, a tank that makes strange noises when heating up, or a gel-like substance in the faucet aerators.


If your water heater needs a new anode rod, let the professionals at A-Abel Family of Companies switch it out for you. This award-winning company has been providing residents of Dayton, OH, with high-quality plumbing services since 1937. They’ll install the best type of anode rod for your system and address any other issues that may be preventing the unit from operating at peak performance and efficiency. Call (937) 434-4343 to schedule an appointment, or visit their website for more information on their services.