Why Is Water Heater Corrosion Such a Big Problem?

Why Is Water Heater Corrosion Such a Big Problem?

Why Is Water Heater Corrosion Such a Big Problem?

We’ve all encountered that sinking feeling when you find out from a professional that there’s corrosion in your water heater. You start wondering when it all went wrong and if you’ve got enough money in your vacation savings to pay for a new water heater. Before a professional gives you your options, you’re already assuming the worst.

As professionals, we want to give you some advice. Take a deep breath and remember that it’s going to be okay. The good news is that having a professional water heater technician on hand is the most important step you need to take as a homeowner. The second most important step is to do your research and understand what corrosion is, how it happens, and how you can best avoid it in the future.

water heater

Perhaps you just need water heater repair, or maybe your water heater is completely done. We won’t be certain about this until you call us for help!

What Is Corrosion?

If you were to ask a chemist about corrosion, they’d probably be able to give you various different types and degrees of corrosion. While that’s interesting, it’s not exactly relevant. We’re talking about one specific type of corrosion in this case, and it’s the chemical interaction between the oxygen in your water and the metal of your water heater.

Remember, water is chemically written as H2O, and the O stands for oxygen. There are oxygen atoms that can cause the metal of your water heater to corrode and eventually crumble away. This is what causes metal objects to turn rusty red and eventually fall apart when they come in contact with water.

How Corrosion Occurs in a Water Heater

First of all, it’s not easy for a water heater to simply corrode. Tank water heaters are built with a lining that keeps the water from coming in contact with the metal of your system.

Also, tank water heaters are designed with a part called the sacrificial anode rod which is designed to attract the oxygen atoms so it corrodes instead of the rest of your water heater (hence the “sacrificial” part of the name).

No matter what, eventually the lining of your water heater and the anode rod will wear away over time and your system will suffer the effects of corrosion.

What Corrosion Means for Your Water Heater

Depending on how bad the problem is or how old your water heater is, corrosion can mean different things for different homeowners. Here are the two avenues you can go when you encounter corrosion in your system.


If you’re noticing slight signs of corrosion, the anode rod is starting to wear down, and your water heater is less than 10 years old—then repairs are in order. You can assume by the young age of your water heater that many of the components are still in good shape and the integrity isn’t shot due to corrosion.


If your water heater has been around for longer than a decade or it’s showing signs of severe corrosion, then you’ll likely need it to be replaced. There’s a good chance that the interior lining of the system has worn away and it’s starting to corrode, compromising the integrity of your water heater.

Call Fannon & Sons Heating Cooling to have your water heater repaired or replaced professionally. Welcome to the Family!