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If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know a lot about your hot water system beyond the brand, technology type and energy source – and many don’t even know that much! But that’s ok, because if you select a product with a good reputation and great warranty, and one that is perfectly matched with your home and lifestyle, it’s one of the more ‘install and forget’ appliances you’ll ever come across. But there is one component you really should know a little something about: the hot water system anode.

The what? The full description is sacrificial anode rod, and while simple, it’s one part that does a lot of heavy lifting. The number 1 reason storage tank hot water systems fail is because of tank corrosion – and the number 1 reason they terminally corrode is because the anode rod needed replacing.

What’s the anode rod for, anyway?

The hot water system anode itself is a very simple component – a steel rod encased in a material like aluminium, magnesium or zinc. It screws into the top of the tank, submerges in the water, and – through something known as electrolysis – attracts all the nasties in the water that otherwise would have corroded the tank.

So if your system’s rod is fully corroded, that’s because it did its job extremely well – and needs a hot water anode replacement in place quick-smart by a local plumber in Brisbane before those contaminants start eating away at your precious tank.

Why should you check your hot water system anode?

There are 3 main reasons why your hot water system anode may be ready for the rubbish bin.

1. Deterioration

As outlined above, this is what they’re supposed to do. If you inspect your rod and can see the steel wire core rather than the useful material that protected your system, the rod is junk. Bear in mind that the corrosion will normally start at an extreme end of the anode rod and work its way to the middle.

2. Soft water

Although Queensland’s water supply is normally rated ‘hard’ to ‘moderately hard’ – meaning quite high in dissolved minerals. Softening agents are typically added to hard water to soften it, but those agents can actually speed up the process of tank corrosion.

3. Calcium carbonate

One measure of the ‘hardness’ of water is the concentration of calcium carbonate. But unlike other contaminants, additives and minerals in your water supply, a high concentration of calcium carbonate can actually build up on the anode rod and have the opposite effect to corrosion. And that’s not a good thing, because the hot water system anode rod is supposed to corrode! If it can’t, the contaminants will simply move on to the tank itself.

Luckily, the white calcium build-up can normally be wiped away.

If you’re going to try to inspect your anode rod yourself, make sure your system is powered down, with the water and energy source off. You’ll need to drain the tank, use a wrench to unbolt and remove the rod, and – if sufficiently corroded – replace it with a compatible new one.

Let Brisbane’s best check your hot water anode

Alternatively, why not put it in the hands of Brisbane’s true hot water repair masters? At Brisbane Plumbing & Drainage, our experience in checking, servicing, repairing, replacing and installing hot water systems of every variety and brand is second to none. Give the friendly team a call today.