What is an Anode Rod?

ANODEAn Anode Rod is a device used to provide corrosion protection for the steel tank of a water heater. The corrosion that occurs in a water heater is caused by Galvanic Corrosion in which the water becomes the electrolyte and electrons flow from the anode to the cathode depleting the metal until a hole in the tank is formed. There are two basic types of anode rods used in water heaters to provide corrosion protection for water heaters.

The most commonly used type is the Sacrificial Metal Type. These anode rods use a metal which is slowly consumed instead of the water attacking and corroding the steel tank of the water heater. These anodes are made of metals or, combinations of metals such as Magnesium, Aluminum, and Aluminum/Zinc/Tin, which the water slowly consumes rather than corroding the steel tank. These anodes will require replacement when the sacrificial metal is consumed or the corrosion protection will be lost. The anode rod will be located either connected to a plug in the top of the water heater, or, connected to the outlet nipple of the water heater.

A Powered Anode is used on some water heaters and may be installed as a replacement. Powered anodes have a power supply which may be plugged into the wall or connected to the electrical power supply of the water heater. The Powered Anode uses an electrical current from the power supply to supply the electron flow from the anode to the cathode instead of a sacrificial metal. The powered anode does not get consumed or, require periodic replacement.

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