So, you have heard about all the great features powered anode rods have to offer and are looking to buy one. With all the claims about long lifespan, and the ability to eliminate odors and work with any type of water, it comes as no surprise to see that these types of anodes are much more expensive than you are probably used to paying for a typical sacrificial anode rod.
However, it may be a worthy investment if the powered anode rods were actually able to last as long as manufacturers advertise. So, how long do anode rods last, what could cause them to break, or how do you tell whether it’s time to replace them? Keep scrolling to find out.
Powered anode rods generally last at least 6 years. However, some brands can come with a warranty of up to 20 years. If the powered anode is good quality, it should be able to last as long as advertised, although power surges, faulty wiring, or mechanical damage might shorten its lifespan.
Powered Anode Rods Don’t Purposefully Degrade
As we know, regular anode rods are manufactured with certain materials (usually magnesium or aluminum) that allow the rod to degrade and decompose in order to prolong the life of the actual water heater and stop it from corroding.
This way, it is only necessary to replace the anode rod itself and not the whole heater.
Although powered anode rods also prevent the tank of your water heater from rusting, they have a different mechanism of function. As a result, they can be made of resistant materials (such as titanium) that won’t decompose.
While regular anode rods are known as ‘sacrificial’ because their physical and chemical properties ensure they degrade themselves in order to prevent corrosion, powered anode rods are ‘non-sacrificial’ because they are not made to decompose.
Instead, they help prevent rust by sending electrical pulses into the water heater. These disperse the chemicals in the water that would otherwise accumulate and cause the tank to rust. All they need to do so is to be connected to an electrical outlet.
This means that powered rods tend to last longer than their sacrificial magnesium or aluminum counterparts.
Average Lifespan of Powered Anode Rod
The good news is that the powered anode rods tend to last a minimum of 6 years, with some brands, such as Corro-Protec, claiming to last two decades!
That means you will not only be extending the lifespan of your actual water heater, but you also won’t have to think about replacing the anode rod for a good chunk of time.
Of course, these numbers are merely an indication, as the lifespan of powered anode rods can be shortened or lengthened according to a number of factors.
Factors Affecting the Lifespan
Quality of The Product
Powered anode rods are more expensive, but their superior lifespan usually makes up for it.
Unfortunately, you get what you pay for when it comes to powered anode rods. Those that are made of superior quality materials (and more expensive) will tend to last as long as the manufacturer claims they should.
If you chose a slightly cheaper powered rod, you might notice that some components are not secure or falling off. It can happen due to the design not being well-executed, making the rod susceptible to breakage. These inferior rods will likely break a lot sooner than you would expect.
Since powered anode rods require electricity to function, any issues that occur with your electricity supply will directly affect the rod itself.
If there is a sudden power surge in your house, the increased voltage can cause a rise in the electric current within your anode rod. This has been known to cause damage to these electrical products.
Consistent surges can affect powered anode rods’ functioning or even break them altogether.
As with any electrical appliance, in order for it to work as well as it should and be safe to use, you need to make sure that the wiring is done up to code.
Faulty wiring done by a person looking to make a quick buck in a rushed job can cause the anode rod to malfunction as the electric currents won’t be able to travel freely or as well as they should.
With most things, there comes a risk when you drop or hit them against a hard surface. If the anode rod was misused during delivery or you dropped it before installation, you might have caused some internal mechanical damage to some of its components.
Unlike other traditional anode rods, which are plain sticks of metal, powered anode rods have very intricate internal workings, so you will need to be especially careful to avoid any damage.
Signs That You Should Check the Powered Anode
Although these anode rods are meant to last, sometimes you will have to replace them, especially if you begin to notice some of these signs as they may be an indication that your anode rod is not functioning correctly.
- Your water appears to be brown or ‘rusty.’ This could indicate that your anode rod has reached the end of its journey and the tank is starting to rust. But first, simply check if it is still plugged into the power and functioning correctly.
- The temperature of your water is either hotter or colder than usual. This could indicate that your heater is not functioning properly, and it may be due to corrosion taking place.
- You smell a horrid rotten egg odor. Powered anode rods can eliminate this sulfur smell as soon as they are installed, so if the smell appears, it might be time to check your anode rod.
- Your faucet aerators have clogged up due to sediment build-up in the tank.
- Strange sounds started coming from the water heater. For instance, popping could indicate that there is sediment rolling around in the tank.
The longevity of powered anode rods is one of the most important features of these devices and one of the reasons that they are in general considered to be worth spending the extra money upfront.