What Is the Anode Rod on My Water Heater and What Does It Do?

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What Is the Anode Rod on My Water HeaterFirst of all, don’t feel bad if you don’t know the answer—most people don’t. From the top of your water heater, you will notice a plug fitting screwed into the top of the tank. Suspended from that fitting is a solid metal rod of magnesium, aluminum or zinc. The sole purpose of these rods is to slowly corrode away so the tank will not. Also referred to as sacrificial anodes, the rods sacrifice themselves to protect the steel tank from rusting. When the anode is no longer able to give sufficient protection, the steel tank will begin to rust. Anode rods can be changed to aluminum in cases where certain chemicals in your water supply cause undesirable odors. Depending on your water conditions, you should have your rods checked every 2 to 4 years to insure tank’s longevity and your peace of mind.