Reasons Why Checking Your Water Heater’s Anode Rod is Important

Homeowners don’t usually realize that their water heaters need maintenance before it’s too late and they are forced to take cold showers. To avoid this problem, learning how to spot signs of possible damage or wear-and-tear is important. One way to extend their lifespan, which is usually around 8-12 years depending on make and design, is to check and replace your water heater’s anode rod. 

What is an Anode Rod?

Anode rods or sacrificial rods are important components of tank-style water heaters. They are called sacrificial rods because these rods are intended to corrode in place of the water heater’s lining. Inside the anode rod is a steel core wire with materials varying from magnesium, aluminum, or zinc around it. For these reasons, anode rods are intended to only be used for a short period and need to be checked and replaced. 

Signs that the Water Heater’s Anode Rod Needs to Be Replaced

To be able to maximize the lifespan of a water heater unit, protecting it from corrosion by replacing the anode rods is important. Anode rod’s life expectancy varies on a number of factors, including the chemicals and density of the water, the material of the anode rod, etc. But as a practice, it would be best to check annually and replace every 3 to 5 years. 

If the water coming out of the faucets is discolored or has an odd smell, then something might be wrong with the anode rod. Replacing the anode rod before it corrodes does not only save the water heater’s lining from corrosion but can also prevent it from bursting. Once the anode rod suffers from corrosion, it needs to be replaced immediately.

How to Check and Replace Anode Rods

Before dealing with the water heater and the anode rods, make sure that you have the proper gloves and outfit to protect yourself from the heat. 

  1. To be able to check the anode rod which is inside the tank, the first thing that needs to be done is to drain the water heater to fully see its condition. Consult the manual of the water heater to know how to properly do it and how much water should be drained. Some require emptying the tank completely, while others only need to be partially drained. 
  2. After draining the required amount of water, turn off the power of the water heater. 
  3. Locate the anode rod with the help of instructions written in the manual. The placement can differ depending on the design and model of the water heater. Usually it is at the top of the water heater, covered by a plastic cap and some insulating material. 
  4. Check the anode rod by using a properly sized socket wrench, usually 1 1/16-inch. Some effort might be necessary to be able to take out, and if necessary, remove the anode rod. 
  5. If the anode rod needs to be replaced, install the anode rod after following the process of removal. Then, restart the water heater as written on the water heater’s manual.  

Call the Experts to Help Check and Replace Your Anode Rods!

Water heaters need to be maintained regularly to ensure that they function smoothly, especially if you have been using them for years. If you want to get more out of it, it is crucial that the anode rod be checked and replaced on a regular basis. SLO County Plumbing and Drain Cleaning Inc. can be your partner in maintaining your water heaters working properly. 

SLO County Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Inc. is and has been a family-owned and operated business since 1997. They are a fully insured and bonded plumbing contractor, servicing all of San Luis Obispo County with an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. There truly is no better team to trust! To check all their services and request their service, visit their website:, send them an email at, or call them at 805.543.7586.

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(805) 543-7586