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Water Heater Anode Rod : How To Double The Life of Your Water Heater!

Did you know that in North America, the average life span of residential water heaters is 8 to 12 years? Yet these reservoirs have the potential to last much longer. More than 8,000,000 water heaters are sent to the dump every year, which is an enormous amount; and we have the power to change that! Have you ever heard anyone say their heaters lasted 20 or more years? Well, it could be your case after reading this article!

What is Cathodic Protection? 

To begin with, one should know that each and every steel water heater is equipped with a galvanic (or sacrificial) anode in order to protect it from corrosion. This principle, also known as Cathodic Protection, has existed for several years, and is used to protect several types of structures, such as submarines, boats or pipelines. There exists two forms of cathodic protection; galvanic protection and current protection.

Sacrificial Anode (Magnesium or Aluminium)

Water Heater Anode Rod : How To Double The Life of Your Water Heater! 1

Often overlooked, the sacrificial anode is the first component that should be maintained, and if needed, replaced, in order to extend the life span of our water heaters. However, that requires a good sense of discipline as well as frequent monitoring. As the name suggests, the purpose of the sacrificial anode is to protect the water heater against corrosion by “sacrificing” itself. Its operation is rather simple: when two metals are found within a liquid, the one with the most negative electrochemical potential will corrode first. In order to protect your steel water heater (-0.6V), manufacturers use magnesium (-2.3V) or aluminum (-1.66V). 

Since it constantly releases ions into the water, the sacrificial anode degrades over time, which limits its overall lifespan. As it degrades, the benefits and protection it provides decreases, which leads the steel tank to rust. 

Inspection Of The Anode

Most water tank manufacturers will recommend that you inspect the condition of the anode once every 1 to 3 years, and to replace the part if you notice wear and tear beyond 50% of its initial state. If you are comfortable with doing this task yourself, it should only take but a couple of minutes, however, we would recommend hiring a professional. 

Sulfur Smell In Hot Water

The anode is also the main cause of rotten egg-like smell in hot water. Although many people would recommend removing it completely from the tank in order to correct the issue, we strongly advise against using this method. 

By removing the sacrificial anode from your tank, you deprive it of the only protection against corrosion it has. To find an effective solution against sulfur odors, visit: Sulfur Smell In Your Hot Water? Here’s 4 Ways To Fix It.

Imposed Current Anode (Titanium)

Water Heater Anode Rod : How To Double The Life of Your Water Heater! 2

Adapted for residential water heaters in North America by CORRO-PROTEC in 2006, imposed current anodes uses a much more efficient technology. Unlike the magnesium or aluminum anode, this system of cathodic protection is built to last several years and require no maintenance. 

How Powered Anode Rod works

The imposed current anode is made from an insoluble titanium alloy and covered with MMO. In order to “activate” the protection, it is required to transmit a low voltage through, regulated electronically by a rectifier (to connect to a standard 120 V socket). The current allows complete polarization of the tank, providing a permanent protective layer against corrosion. With this type of system, it is possible to double the lifespan of your water heater, regardless of the composition of your water.

Contrary to popular belief, these anodes also have a shelf life that is determined by the quantity and quality of the materials used to make the MMO-coated titanium rods as well as the current transmitted by the rectifier. CORRO-PROTEC anodes have been subjected to several tests in our laboratories in order to demonstrate their effectiveness and their life span. You can learn more on this in the blog entry: Tests of Powered Anode Rod.

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8 Comments

  1. Lesley Moffitt on September 11, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    Hello, I’m interested in knowing what it should cost to have a new anode installed in my water heater?
    Thankyou

    • Corro-Protec on September 12, 2019 at 8:53 am

      Hello Lesley,

      The cost of installation depends on several factors. We invite you to contact your local plumber for an installation price. The product arrives with the instructions to replace the anode yourself and it only takes a few minutes!

      Thanks,
      Vincent

  2. Dale Brass on May 9, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    Not sure how to read this
    Ad sez stops smell, what actually stops the smell is removing the mag rod to install this gadget. Smell does not come back cause the rod is gone. Tricky ad, but maybe the thing could be advertised that it.slows down corrosion idk
    A 10 year warranty on water means it will last 10 yrs
    Plus 6 more months
    Maybe

    • Corro-Protec on May 9, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to share your questions!

      It is worth knowing that the smell of sulfur in hot water can be caused by 2 different factors.

      The first is a reaction between water with a high magnesium content and the magnesium anode already present in the tank. If you remove the anode from the tank, this smell will quietly disappear and should not come back. However, by doing so, you are depriving your water heater of its only protection against rust and this will significantly reduce its life span. In addition, it is possible that pieces of magnesium have detached from the anode, these pieces will continue to create a reaction and create this smell.

      Secondly, this odor can be caused by sulphate-reducing bacteria, these bacteria live in a low-oxygen environment such as deep wells, plumbing, water softeners and water heaters. Even if you remove the magnesium anode, the odor will remain in your hot water!

      Our product solves this problem, regardless of what causes the odor issues! Some tanks, like those at Bradford White, have an anode built into the water heater, which is hard to access. Our product allows to eliminate odors in these tanks even if the original magnesium anode is still present!

    • sherihummer@gmail.com on September 16, 2019 at 10:41 pm

      Hi this will be the second anode rod we have replaced in 2 years. Water has an rotten egg smell and is now turning black. I have calligan water softener for my water. Which rod is the best on to get.
      Sheri Hummer

      • Corro-Protec on September 17, 2019 at 1:04 pm

        You should try the Corro-Protec 40 to 80 Gallons!

  3. John Zeppa on April 30, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Hello, Just curious about the life span of the rectifier power unit. Also, in your illustration it shows the rectifier with two leads. The obvious one goes to the insertion rod into the tank,,, the other is shown going the top side wall of the tank – what is its purpose ??

    • Corro-Protec on April 30, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      Hello John! The second wire is a ground and It’s the easiest way to install it.

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