Most hot water tanks are made of steel and are manufactured with a glass lining inside to help prevent corrosion. In fact, corrosion is the primary reason that tanks fail. Once rust produces a hole in your hot water heater, temporary fixes are available, but the leaking hot water tank should be replaced.
The condition of the water heater's sacrificial anode rod helps to determine how long a water heater will last and also helps to control corrosion in the tank.
This magnesium anode rod in your hot water heater protects the tank by corroding in place of the steel. Because the rod is designed to corrode, it will eventually wear away. After this happens, corrosion of the steel accelerates. It's a good idea to check the condition of the anode rod every second year, and replace it if necessary.
If the hot water heater rod is not checked on a regular basis it could possibly break off and fall to the bottom of the water heater, and there if would bounce around whenever water travels inside the hot water heater. The hot water heater tank lining will then very quickly deteriorate due to cracks in the glass lining of the water heater, radically shortening its life.
Having a depleted anode rod and not replacing it in a timely fashion will shorten the life span of your water heater so it's incredibly important to keep on top of its condition.
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