Sacrificial anodes have been part of tank-type water heating systems for a long time yet many people have no idea about this component. Ideally, a sacrificial anode, despite its small size, will determine whether an entire water heating system operates or malfunctions. Here are some of the vital facts you need to know about sacrificial anodes:
Hot Water Anodes Take Care of Corrosion and Rust Problem -- You probably know that tank water is filled with chemicals that can be very corrosive to surfaces through a process called electrolysis. By attaching an anode, usually made of aluminum or magnesium rods, the electrolysis process is significantly slowed down. This rod will attract all the electrolytes that 'eat up' the internal surface of the tank. Therefore, over time, the anode will absorb the impact instead of the tank, and hence, the name 'sacrificial anode'. This way, hot water anodes ensure the longevity of your water heater system.
Anodes Are the Cheapest Way to Eliminate the Smelly Water Problem -- Anaerobic bacteria can cause your tank water to emit a foul smell akin to rotten eggs. The bacteria react with the anodes to release hydrogen sulfide gas that is responsible for the smelly water. A permanent solution to this irritating problem is to install quality aluminum/zinc alloy sacrificial anodes instead of aluminum or magnesium rods. You do not have to incur additional expenses trying to eliminate odors in the tank by buying additives when the aluminum/zinc alloy is the cheapest alternative. The smell problem can be exacerbated when you install more anodes in the tank because you will be increasing the surface area for the electrolysis process.
Anodes Need to Be Replaced -- How long will the sacrificial anode last? Well, the answer to this question will depend on various factors such as the presence of water softeners (phosphates, salt), the water quality, and temperature, and frequency of use of the tank among other factors. Water that has been softened will corrode the sacrificial anodes faster than the alternative. Therefore, you will need to replace the rods after every six months. However, some telltale signs to look out for before replacing the hot water anodes include an exposed steel core wire that suggests that the rod has been consumed entirely.
Passivization Can Require Early Replacement of Anodes -- Sometimes, calcium carbonate may accumulate on the sacrificial anodes, preventing them from performing their function. This process (passivization) can cause the tank to corrode because of the heavy material buildup on the anodes. In this case, you should consider replacing the rod at this point.
For more information, contact a company like Carman Heating.