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During a tanked water heater’s normal operations, minerals build up on the tank’s interior metal, leading to corrosion and inefficient heating. Anode rods are designed to attract minerals from the tank’s water and keep the entire water heater working appropriately. As you try to keep your water heater in the best shape possible, find out more about what sacrificial anode rods are, how often they need to be replaced, and why replacing them is so important.

What Is a Sacrificial Anode Rod?

As their name suggests, sacrificial anode rods “sacrifice” themselves for the sake of a water heater’s tank. These long metal rods are installed at the interior top of a water heater’s tank, where they hang into the tank’s water. While they hang from the top, they’ll attract minerals in the water and away from the tank. These minerals attach to the rod, corroding the rod while the rest of the tank’s metal will be unaffected. Eventually, the anode rod will degrade entirely and need to be replaced.

How Do Sacrificial Anode Rods Attract Minerals?

If you want to understand how sacrificial anode rods work, it comes down to the rod being made out of a different metal than the water heater’s tank. Since anode rods are made out of anodic (less noble) metal, they will experience galvanic corrosion, while the tank's cathodic (more noble) metal receives galvanic protection. The basic mechanism behind the galvanic protection is that metals lower in the galvanic series of metals will corrode faster than those higher in the galvanic series of metals.

A new sacrificial anode rod next to an older, deteriorated one

How Often Do Sacrificial Anode Rods Need to Be Replaced?

It’s best practice to replace sacrificial anode rods every two to four years, as they tend to become ineffective at providing galvanic protection during that time period. After they become too corroded or surrounded by minerals, rust will begin to form on the tank walls. As a result, it’s essential to replace your anode rod on schedule. 

Typically, your local plumber can tell you how often sacrificial anode rods should be replaced in your area based on the water you use. For example, some areas have hard water, meaning they have higher amounts of minerals in their water that cause faster corrosion. Besides hard water, water softened through sodium water softeners can also corrode anode rods faster, as these water softeners leave trace amounts of sodium behind. In either of these cases, it’s usually best to replace the rod every two to three years.

Is It Okay Not to Replace Sacrificial Anode Rods? What Will Happen If I Don’t Replace My Sacrificial Anode Rod?

Some homeowners think they can get away without replacing their sacrificial anode rods, but it’s never a good idea. Find out more about what can happen if you don’t replace your sacrificial anode rod below:

Can You Inspect Inspect Sacrificial Anode Rods?

While you can technically inspect an anode rod, it’s usually not recommended as it can cause far more problems than it's worth. Since a large mass of minerals will eventually build up on anode rods, it can prevent trained plumbers from fully inspecting them and checking their condition. 

Even when the plumber can remove the rod to check it, the removal process can cause the mineral mass to break. If the mineral mass breaks off, the minerals will settle at the bottom of the water heater’s tank and take large parts of the decomposed rod with it. A plumber will then have to replace your sacrificial rod and flush the tank to remove the excess minerals and parts of the rod.

Though an anode rod usually shouldn’t be inspected when it’s covered in minerals, a plumber can check if it’s working. Very rarely, a sacrificial rod won’t work and will allow minerals to corrode your water heater’s tank. If you’ve had a rod for two or three years and a plumber finds it looks new, the rod is likely defective. The rod should be immediately replaced, as your tank is likely corroding, and your water heater could fail prematurely.

Choose Boyd Plumbing for Water Heater Repair and Replacement Services in Sacramento and surrounding areas.

Boyd Plumbing has you covered if you need a sacrificial rod replacement in Sacramento or the surrounding areas. Our team is trained to handle a variety of water heater repair and replacement services, including sacrificial anode replacements. Alongside replacing anode rods, we can flush your water heater, repair damages, and fully replace it with a tanked or tankless model if need be. We also recommend you review our coupons to find out how much you can save on our services.

Learn more about our water heater repair and replacement services today. If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, please call us at (916) 710-8070 or use our online form.

Hot water is a necessity in our homes. We all want hot baths and showers, but sometimes it just doesn't happen due to the quick change of seasons or when your pipes freeze over with cold water that takes forever for you to get heat up again. What should you do if this happens? As soon as winter hits, everyone starts looking for ways to keep warm during the chilly months. A water heater is an essential part of your home's plumbing system and should be serviced by a qualified professional as soon as possible if you notice any problems.

A qualified plumber will be able to diagnose your plumbing issue and provide timely repairs so that all is back up on the track as quickly as possible. You should always take the time to search for a hot water heater plumbing company in Sacramento that has the experience, ability, and track record of resolving issues.

That's when you need hot water heater plumbing repairs. It means you should call a well-established water heater plumbing company in Sacramento as soon as possible. Once they know your water heater issues, they will visit your home, inspect your water heating machine, check the fault, and then repair it at the earliest. Please note that when you search for the best water heating plumbing company in Sacramento, you must remember to check their experience in the industry, average turnaround time, and ability to resolve issues reliably. Now, let's see five common FAQs about water heaters:

Plumbers are usually called only when a problem arises in the water connections and related equipment. However, it is important to give this area of maintenance more importance so that one can remain stress free throughout the year. No residents of homes or offices like to live in puddles of water all around, mostly caused by leaking pipes and drains. Other than the drainage system, one may need the services of plumbers for water heater repair Sacramento.

Always hire experienced plumbers

One can expect high quality water heater repair Sacramento services only when the services of a reputed contractor are chosen. With the experienced plumbers, one can be sure of receiving the best services that can fix plumbing problems in one shot. On the other hand, those plumbers who do not have enough experience may not be able to diagnose the problem correctly, and may have to keep returning.  

Plumbers are important for both residential and commercial jobs

Good plumbing contractors are able to provide suitable plumbers, whether for residential or commercial tasks. Though it goes without saying that plumbing is important for every ecosystem, there may be certain professionals who are more adept in a specific domain out of commercial and residential spaces. Contractors must be aware of the same and send the staffs accordingly.  

Common plumbing services

The following issues will require plumbing operations from the experts:

1) Repairing leaks in tanks

2) Sewer line repair and replacement

3) Installation of gas lines and their repairs

4) Installation of new water heaters and their repairs, which includes tankless water heaters

In certain cases, it may become very difficult to get the plumbers, based on the number of tasks being carried out. However, the reputed contractors will always be able to find a suitable plumber as per a customer need. One simply has to make a call on the number provided on the contractor’s website. The availability of the Internet has made scheduling a plumbing call easier than ever before.

Why one should leave plumbing to the experts?

There are a vast number of drain cleaner products that can be found in home improvement stores across Sacramento, both online and offline. Although one may be tempted to use them and fix the problem, here’s why the experts should be called:

1) Plumbers have special tools to better see drains, as the problem might be more complicated than what meets the eye. An individual would be limited in his or her ability to check the drain.

2) Drains are responsible for more than just draining water from the area surrounding sinks, showers, and bathtubs. Plumbing knowledge is important for getting to the roots of a drainage problem.

The knowledge needed to diagnose and then repair the plumbing problem is not always the sale proceeds. It is here that the reputed Sacramento plumbers help out by giving a guarantee for their work. In other words, if the problem occurs once again, contractors will not charge again if it is not fixed. Instead, doing so on one’s own could turn out to be more costly.

There is a limit to how hot your water can run when you turn on the water from the faucet and crank it all the way to its “warm” setting. There is actually a certain temperature that water in your water heater can be set to in order to change how hot the water can get, and many homeowners are unaware that this aspect of their water can be “customized”, for lack of a better word.

There are usually two recommended temperatures that specialists from your water heater repair Sacramento, CA will suggest. These are 120- and-140 degrees Fahrenheit, and there are strong arguments for either of these temperatures. Which one do we suggest? It’s actually up to the homeowner. Here are the reasons behind both options for you to make a sound decision:

Why 120 Degrees?

120 Degrees is the recommended max temperature for water heaters, according to both the American Society of Sanitary Engineering and the US Department of Energy.

Firstly, setting the max temperature to 120 degrees prevents the water from scalding your skin. At 140 degrees, water can burn the skin in seconds. In comparison, it will take less than two minutes for water that is 120 degrees to burn your skin.

Slightly colder water will also prevent mineral deposits from building up in your pipework. This will keep water flowing without any issues such as turning into hard water later on.

Reducing the temperature to 120 degrees can also save you money; up to 60 dollars from your utility bill each year to be precise.

Finally, the reduction in temperature also uses less energy, thus making it better for the environment. Energy is used to heat your water, and using less will preserve that energy, so you won’t let it go to waste.

Why 140 Degrees?

140 degrees is scalding hot, but as a matter of fact, it is the recommended temperature for water heaters according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Their primary explanation is that scalding hot water that’s 140 degrees can kill a certain strain of bacteria. Water at 120 degrees can kill most types of harmful bacteria, but water at 140 degrees can kill a completely different strain known as Legionnaires' disease bacteria. When these bacteria enter the body, it can lead to an illness that is very similar to pneumonia. This type of bacteria is spurred on by aging water systems, rusted pipes, or water heaters or storage systems that let water stagnate outside for prolonged periods of time.

This is the lone argument there is for setting your max water temperature to 140 degrees, but it is one that can overall cause families to stay healthy. People who run water from the faucet however, would have to be very careful.

Which Is Better for Your Home?

Many homes can set their max water temperatures to 120 degrees with very little risk involved. If you are raising a family or have older relatives living with you, you’ll find it more important for somebody not to get burned over not get infected from a rare species of bacteria. However, if you have an older water system or one that stagnates water outdoors, the odds of getting sick from this rare strain will increase.


Water heaters can have a limit to how hot the water can get in your home that can be changed. Organizations recommend setting this limit to either 120 or 140 degrees and there are different arguments for each. Decide which temperature is best for you and your family and get assistance from your Sacramento plumber.

Ask a Sacramento Plumber: How to Reduce the Risk of Serious Flood Damage

Your water heater’s shut off valve is very important. If a problem develops and you can’t turn off the water supply, the area where your water heater is located could be seriously damaged due to flooding. If you are handy with tools you should be able to take care of this job yourself.

  1. Turn off your water heater. If you have a gas model, shut the gas supply. If it is electric, turn it off at both the unit and the circuit breaker. Then, turn off the water to your home. Use a pump or a hose to drain the tank, but be careful because the water could be hot.
  2. Use a wrench to remove the old valve, making sure not to twist the connecting pipe. To be on the safe side, use another wrench to hold the pipe while you twist off the valve. Connect the new valve (making sure it’s in the “off” position) after cleaning the pipe threads and applying pipe joint compound to make sure the valve stays in place.
  3. Put some soapy water around the new valve. If you don’t see any bubbles, the connection is secure. After you double-check the valve to make sure it is in the “off” position, turn the water supply back on. Then, as long as everything is working correctly, turn on your gas or electricity.

Call Boyd Plumbing today if you want us to take care of your water heater shut off valve replacement.

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