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You may not realise it, but you really do love your hot water system. When you have a sink of dirty dishes to wash or you’re desperate for a soothing shower after a long day, all you need to do is turn on that tap and a stream of hot water instantly awaits.

But like anything human-made, a hot water system will eventually go wrong – and one of the most common hot water unit problems is rust or other forms of corrosion. So if you love that hot water system, there’s a hidden, rod-like component on board that you need in perfect working order: the hot water anode.

Hot water system anode – What’s it all about?

If your hot water system’s tank is made of premium stainless steel, or if your unit doesn’t have a tank at all, then you will never need an anode replacement – because there’s no anode on board at all! Why’s that? Because stainless steel is sufficiently resistant to corrosion – and that’s the sole function of the hot water anode.

No idea what we’re talking about? Let’s explore the world of the hot water anode in the form of a helpful Q&A:

1. What’s a hot water system anode, anyway?

In a nutshell, an anode – also referred to as a ‘sacrificial’ anode – is a rod made of highly reactive metal like zinc-coated magnesium with the aim of attracting the water’s electrolytes, minerals and impurities away from the rest of the system.

2. How long do they last?

If you’re lucky, your anode should last for five years or more, but it’s well worth getting yours checked. Why? Because it’s not referred to as ‘sacrificial’ for nothing. Even after a routine plumbing inspection, plumbers have been known to pull an anode out of a system in a severe state of corrosion – which is exactly what it’s designed to do. Once it’s worn out, the corrosion will turn its attention to your hot water system proper. Often if you have a hot water system leaking from the top, the sacrificial anode is already past its use-by date.

3. Is replacing it really a big deal?

Yes! Without an anode, the hot water system will appear to be functioning absolutely perfectly – but once the tank becomes ‘anodic’ in its absence, the process of rusting and corrosion can be incredibly fast. But with a brand-new, replacement anode on board, you could add years to your hot water system lifespan – as many as ten or more!

4. Can I replace the anode myself?

Almost certainly not. Once you start fiddling around with the workings of your hot water system, you could void your manufacturer’s warranty and potentially even upset your insurer – not to mention the fact that plumbing work should always be carried out by a licensed local plumber. Not just that, hot water systems are no joke – full of scalding hot water and steam and all connected to the electricity or gas supply.

If your hot water system is five years old or you suspect it is showing early signs of corrosion, Gold Coast Plumbing Experts really are the local experts in Gold Coast hot water. We offer fixed pricing and guaranteed workmanship, and if you call us out to your place today, we’ll even do a plumbing inspection for FREE! Look after your hot water system and that all-important hot water anode by giving us a call right now.