Jeff's experience designing content solutions led him to be one of our first contributors. He helped draft Makey's blueprint and is one of the best explainers of technical details we know.
For the most part, hot water heaters require very little maintenance. However, the sacrificial anode (aka, the anode rod) is one part that will probably need to be replaced every few years.
The term anode rod (or sacrificial anode) typically refers to a replaceable metal rod (aluminum, magnesium, or zinc) that screws inside most hot water tanks. Through an electrochemical process, anode rods are designed to attract the corrosive elements in the water, protecting the steel metal walls inside the hot water tank from oxidation and deterioration. In other words, the aluminum or magnesium is sacrificed to the corrosive elements, saving the metal water tank from eroding. Powered anode rods are non-sacrificing anode rods that produce an electric pulse to prevent corrosive elements from causing deterioration.
Unlike powered anode rods, traditional sacrificial anodes are designed to self-destruct. As a result, you’ll need to stay on top of regular maintenance and watch out for signs of deterioration: