2 Problems That Corrode Your Water Heater Tank And Shorten Its Lifespan

Fact: 69% of water heater failures are a result of a slow leak or a sudden burst, according to disastersafety.org.

And water heater failures cost an average of $4,444 per incident.

But you can avoid this problem by knowing the 2 common causes of water heater corrosion:

  • Deteriorated anode rod
  • Sediment buildup

Both can be easily prevented with proper care and maintenance.

Let’s look at each in more detail.

Deteriorated anode rod

The problem: Over time your sacrificial anode rod becomes useless, leaving your water heater’s tank vulnerable to the corrosive minerals in your water.

How it happens: The anode rod is typically a steel core wire wrapped in magnesium or aluminum and screwed into the top of a water heater tank.

Its sole purpose is to attract the corrosive minerals in your water so that they don’t eat at your water heater tank. It sacrifices itself for your tank.

However, over time (usually around 4-6 years) these rods get used up.

If the rod is not replaced when it’s down to its steel core wire, the minerals will begin to attach to your water heater tank. And then the tank will start to leak (or burst).

How to prevent it: Check your anode rod if it’s near the 4-6 year lifespan and replace it if it’s less than 1/2-inch thick. If you have a water softener, your anode rod could be used up in as little as 1 year.

You can do this yourself, or have a professional inspect it as part of a maintenance visit. And if you’re a PlumbingCare member, we check this during our annual visit.

Sediment buildup

The problem: A thick layer of sediment (minerals like lime and calcium) can collect at the bottom of your tank, eventually causing damage to your tank’s inner lining.

How it happens: Your tap water contains dissolved minerals. As they’re heated in your water heater’s tank, the minerals ‘undissolved’ and stick to the bottom of the tank. This sediment buildup can cause your water heater to run longer and overheat in the process, melting its steel and damaging your tank’s inner lining as a result.

How to prevent it: Drain your water heater tank annually. This will flush out any sediment that has collected on the bottom of the tank. You can either flush it yourself or contact a professional Atlanta plumber.

The bottom line…

When water and metal mix, water eventually wins. That’s why proper water heater maintenance is so important. If you need help with your water heater or have questions about our plumbing maintenance service program, contact us online or call (770) 421-8400.

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