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Is Rust a Sign I Need Water Heater Repair?

Rust on anything is evidence of corrosion that has developed from excess moisture, which typically isn’t a good thing. When it comes to water heaters, the big question is: where is the rust located? The reason this question is important is that there is a big difference between rust being only on the outside of your water heater or on the inside. This does not mean that rust on the outside of a water heater is a good thing, but it is better than rust coming from the inside.

Sacrificial Anode

Water and metal are usually a bad combination, but there are a lot of instances where the two have to come together. When it comes to water heaters, there are two ways in which the process of corrosion via rust is inhibited: first, by insulated lining in the water tank and second, by a component known as the sacrificial anode. As its name suggests, the sacrificial anode’s job is to attract the electrolytes that help create corrosion. Sacrificial anodes are made of highly active metals, so the anode is the part that will corrode first out of all of the water heater’s components. This is done purposefully so that the less active metals that comprise the water heater won’t rust and corrode.

So What If You See Rust?

This is where you need to see where the rust is. Sacrificial anodes have an average lifespan of about 6 years. Once the anode is fully rusted, the electrolytes inside the tank will likely move on to other parts of your water heater.

Rust Prevention

So what can you do to help prevent rust and know the state of your sacrificial anode? One of the best ways is to schedule annual water heater maintenance. During a water heater maintenance appointment, all the components of your water heater are checked, including the anode; if the anode is rusty, it can be replaced during the appointment. Flushing your water heater twice a year also helps, as it removes any built-up sediment and bacteria in the tank.

If you are seeing rust on your water heater, and aren’t sure if it’s coming from a problem inside the tank or outside, it’s best to play it safe and make an appointment for water heater repair in Winter Park, FL. The experts at Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc., can help with any water heater issue you may have, so call us today!

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