Most people don't spend much time thinking about anodes. In fact, unless you're told your hot water system has started to corrode, you may not think about anodes at all. Yet anodes are a clever and simple way to stop corrosion, not only of your hot water system, but of all sorts of metal objects exposed to water, including such as wharves, jetties and ships.
What are anodes?
Anodes are simply metal components formed from alloys that corrode easily. Anodes are necessary because water causes metal to corrode whenever the two materials are in contact. You may have heard of them referred to as sacrificial anodes, because of the fact that the presence of an anode in a tank of water will cause the anode itself to corrode, rather than the tank.
What do anodes do?
Anodes are used in shipping, mining and hot water tanks to let them corrode. As the anode becomes steadily more corroded, its power to protect your tank is reduced. Simply replacing the anode will continue to protect your tank.
What types of anodes are there?
Anodes are commonly formed from magnesium, aluminium and zinc, and these materials are used because they present a greater negative electro-chemical potential than metals used to construct tanks containing or coming into repeated contact with water, such as the tank of your hot water system.
Most hot water tanks use magnesium, or soft water anodes, and you'll also find magnesium anodes at use in freshwater river systems. These anodes are available in many stock and custom forms, in a variety of shapes and many sizes of rods.
If you have an old tank or your water is on the hard side, aluminium anodes are your best bet. When you find magnesium anodes corroding too quickly, the slower aluminium anodes provide prolonged protection. You'll find aluminium anodes in many shapes and sizes to suit marine and mining, including flexi, straight and solar rods.
Zinc anodes are best suited to saltwater conditions, and you'll find anodes in all sizes designed to suit a diverse range of shipping and mining applications, from boat hulls and engines cooled by water to offshore mining platforms and pipes.
So sneak a peek at your hot water system. If your anode is corroded, replacing it is a straightforward and economical way to prolong the life of your tank. Contact a professional for more information.