|There is a lot about home maintenance we non-technically minded people don’t understand. Thankfully, there are companies like HomeLife Warranty Protection to provide information about home repairs and upkeep and offer peace of mind when the unexpected happens.
Today, we talk with HomeLife Warranty Protection about one of the most overlooked system in the home, the hot water heater.
Q: Hello and thank you for joining us today. As you know, we would like to talk about hot water heater maintenance.
HomeLife Warranty Protection: We’d love to. It’s an important piece of equipment that often goes untouched until it breaks.
Q: Why is that?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Mostly because it doesn’t require intervention to operate…the dishwasher, washing machine, and other appliances have to be touched daily.
Q: We don’t even see the hot water heater every day!
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Exactly. But these appliances work around-the-clock, and even have a number of features that few people know about.
Q: Do tell…
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Have you ever heard of a sacrificial anode?
Q: No, what’s that?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Water heaters have what’s called an anode rod inside the tank that acts as a decoy; they are usually made of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc. The anode rod provides an alternative source of electrons, instead of taking them from the steel water tank.
Q: So it essentially sacrifices itself so the tank doesn’t corrode?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes and without this rod, the hot water heater might only last half as long.
Q: How long are these rods supposed to last?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Most manufacturers suggest they be replaced every two years.
Q: Why is that?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: This is about the length of time it takes for degradation of the anode rod before it starts eating at the water tank itself.
Q: What happens if it’s not replaced on time…or at all?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Not performing this replacement causes premature corrosion of the tank and water leaks occur that could cause property damage and cut in half the useful life of the water heater. Proper anode rod replacement every 2 years should double the life of the water heater.
Q: Is there only one type of anode rod?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: No, actually. Homeowners in soft water areas might want to consider a powered anode, which connects to an outlet and emits a low electrical current into the water.
Q: Do anode rods serve any other purpose?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Odor is a problem in some soft water areas and the powered rods can help with that as well.
Q: Are there any other parts that should be replaced regularly?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Not usually but many homeowners do not know that the tank is supposed to be drained at least once a year.
Q: Oh really?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Yes, and even more often in areas of hard water.
Q: What do you mean when you mention hard and soft water?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: That refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. More minerals equals harder water.
Q: How does hard water affect a hot water heater?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: Hard water has calcium and magnesium dispersed throughout it and these minerals can settle at the bottom of the tank, causing reduced water temperatures and increased energy consumption.
Q: Got it. So, change the rods and drain the tank for best performance?
HomeLife Warranty Protection: That’s pretty much all it takes! A little care and a few minutes of maintenance every year really does go a long way.