What Is Purpose Of Anode Rod In Water Heater?

Have you ever thought about what purpose your water heater serves and why it’s so important that you have it working properly? Have you ever heard about an anode rod but never knew what it was for?

Well, you’re in luck, because in this article we will uncover the purpose of an anode rod in water heaters, and why it is so important that you have one. Anode rods are an integral part of the maintenance and upkeep of your water heater, so it’s important to understand what their purpose is. So, read on to learn more about the purpose of anode rods in water heaters and why you should replace them regularly.

What Is the Purpose of Anode Rod in Water Heater?

An anode rod is found inside of a water heater and its main purpose is to protect the unit and prolong its life. It is made of a soft metallic material such as aluminum, magnesium, or zinc, and is designed to corrode in a controlled manner in order to protect the tank’s inner lining.

What Does the Anode Rod Do?

The anode rod works by actively drawing corrosion to itself, thus protecting the tank from more aggressive corrosion.

In effect, the anode rod takes the brunt of corrosion first, acting as a sacrificial element.

  • Without an anode rod, corrosion will slowly start to eat away at the water heater tank’s lining, leading to corroded water supply lines, leaks, system failure, and a shorter lifespan for the water heater.

  • With an anode rod in place, however, the rod is more prone to corroding than the water heater’s tank. As the anode rod corrodes, it stops protecting the tank, which is why they need to be replaced periodically.

How to Inspect and Take Care of the Anode Rod

Inspecting the anode rod and flushing the tank can help extend the life of your water heater and prevent costly repairs or full replacements.

If you notice your anode rod is becoming plugged up with sediment, scale, or corrosion, it’s time to replace it and flush the tank.

  • Start by removing the access panel on the water heater and locating the anode rod.

    Remove the anode rod from the tank by unscrewing the hex head

  • Once the anode rod is removed, inspect it for signs of corrosion and/or buildup. If you notice corrosion or buildup, the rod needs to be replaced.
  • Flush the water heater tank by removing one of the hot water supply lines and using a garden hose to flush the tank of all buildup and scale, then reinstall the supply line.

  • Once the tank is flushed, reinstall the new anode rod and tighten the hex head. Then, fasten the access panel back in place.


An anode rod is an essential part of a water heater as it works to protect the tank from corrosion and other forms of damage. Inspecting and replacing the anode rod regularly and maintaining the tank with periodic flushes will help keep your water heater in good working order and extend its lifespan.

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