Why You Need to Keep an Eye on the Constant Battle Within Your Water Tank

Posted on: 24 July 2018

Do you know the difference between a noble and a sacrificial metal? Whether you do or not, it's crucial that the right type of metal sits within your hot water tank or you may be replacing that investment far sooner than you thought. Much of this has to do with an electrochemical reaction, but in the end it boils down to saving you money. Why do you need to pay attention to the type of metal rod that is inserted within your tank?

The Ultimate Sacrifice

A metal such as steel will quickly corrode if it is subject to water for any length of time. As you can imagine, this is a bad scenario for a typical hot water tank. However, different types of metal will corrode more quickly than others and this is why a special rod is also inserted within the water heater, containing one of these sacrificial metals.

Magnesium and Aluminium

Usually, this anode is made from either aluminium or magnesium. Both will rust more quickly than steel. Some tanks contain more than one of these sacrificial anodes, especially the more expensive ones, but the process is the same. When an aluminium or magnesium anode is placed within the water, the electrochemical process begins and the steel tank itself is saved.

Be Careful When Softening

You may live in an area where you suffer from hard water and may add some salt to the tank to soften the H2O. This may give you a better-quality shower, but you need to keep a closer look on your sacrificial anode. While these softeners can often reduce the amount of sediment in a tank, the anode may corrode in only a few months.

You can check on the water composition by using a special sampling tool, and you may have to add some softened water back into the mix in certain cases. As an alternative, you could use a powered anode, which is a completely different solution that uses an electric current. This anode is not consumed with time and does not need to be replaced.


Finally, try to make sure that you replace your sacrificial anode with the same metal and do not interchange if you have more than one within the tank. If you do, one of them is going to be consumed more rapidly than the other and you will have to replace it more often.

If you're unsure what type of anode you have in your tank, ask your supplier to identify the metal for you.


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