Corrosion: What It Could Mean for Your Water Heater

A water heater is among your home’s most essential components. Whether you’re taking a shower or washing dishes, you need a steady supply of clean, hot water. Unfortunately, this essential appliance can fall victim to the effects of corrosion, making it necessary to get a repair or even a water heater replacement.

What Is Corrosion?

Corrosion is essentially the chemical reaction between water, oxygen, and a metal surface. This oxidation can quickly wear down an appliance. Fortunately, water heaters have unique design features that help prevent and minimize corrosion.

Why Do Water Heaters Develop Corrosion?

Typically, water heaters only start to experience corrosion after many years of use. The tank’s steel liner is protected by glass, which helps prevent a buildup of rust. As the unit starts to age, small cracks in the glass can develop. Corrosion is then more likely to occur.

A modern water heater also features a pressure release valve. Its purpose is to prevent outside air from entering the tank, which could contribute to corrosion. Another important feature is a water heater’s sacrificial anode rod. This metal stick is engineered to attract gases and minerals from the water, thus protecting the tank from corrosion. Every few years, the sacrificial anode rod needs to be replaced. If you fail to do so, there’s a good chance your tank and other components will gradually start to rust away.

When Should You Replace Your Water Heater?

You can expect a water heater to last for up to 15 years before it needs to be replaced. Contrary to common belief, corrosion doesn’t always require you to buy a brand-new water heater. Some of the unit’s individual corroded parts can be replaced, including the burner and heat exchanger.

Remember, heavy corrosion can’t be reversed. If your unit shows signs of severe rust, it’s likely time to start shopping for a new water heater.

What Happens If I Don’t Replace a Corroded Water Heater?

It’s only a matter of time before it begins to leak. At that point, water damage to your home becomes a real possibility. Rusty water is also a potential problem.

For 24/7 water heater services, you can count on Payless Water Heaters. We conduct repairs around the clock and at no extra charge for nights and weekends: (866) 615-4008.