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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

Protect Your Water Heater from Corrosion with This Service


Is your water heater ready for spring and summer?

Okay, that question is a bit of a misnomer. Water heaters aren’t like other home systems, such as your air conditioner, that need routine maintenance each spring.

But they do need maintenance! Fortunately, because it’s a year-round system that you use day after day, it doesn’t really matter what time of the year you have maintenance done. It mostly matters that your tune-ups for this important piece of your plumbing in Santa Fe, NM are routine—once a year.

Read on as we uncover the components of your water heater that prevent it from corroding, and why taking care of these components is so important!

Understanding Your Tank’s Lining

The tank of your water heater is likely made from durable steel. But, as you probably know, water and steel don’t mix. Corrosion will eventually occur. That’s why there is also an inside lining made of glass, which does not corrode. It is possible for cracks in the glass to permit water to reach the metal, however.

Older water heaters kept a cushion of air at the top of the tank to prevent the water pressure spikes that could cause this type of damage. But, allowing air into the tank allowed corrosion to begin anyway. Newer water heaters tackle this by removing air entirely from the tank and instead use an expansion tank placed over the main one to absorb water pressure increases.

Additional Corrosion Protection

There is a component of your tank water heater called the anode rod, also referred to as the sacrificial anode rod. Perhaps that sounds dramatic, but really, that’s what it does! This rod, also called a cathodic anode rod, runs the length of the center of your water heater tank. It’s made from two different pieces of metal that attract the oxidization ions that cause corrosion. Essentially, the anode rode corrodes so no other parts of your system will—therefore earning the “sacrificial” title.

Eventually, an anode rod will rust through completely. At this point, the rest of the water heater is at risk. This is one of the reasons that routine professional water heater maintenance is so vital! Our technicians will check on the condition of the anode rod to see if it needs replacement. And sure, you can have a plumber show you how to check the rod yourself, but it still requires a trained and experienced professional to accurately replace it and ensure it’s working as it should.

When Corrosion Occurs

An aging water heater—that is, one that’s over 15 years old, might start to corrode no matter what defense measures you have in place. It may not even be from water, but rather form the combustion gases from the burner. Whatever the cause for corrosion, it typically means it’s time to replace the water heater. Repairs can’t do much to reverse the development of this corrosion.

For your water heater and other plumbing needs, contact Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration today!

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