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The life of the anode, in turn, depends on water temperature, amount of water used, and the quality of the glass lining. However, the most important factor in the life of the anode rod is the water chemistry, the hardness or softness of the water. Water softeners contribute to the change in water chemistry. Indirectly, softened water acts to reduce the service life of the anode, since its current demand becomes drastically higher. Also, check the manufacture and installation date of the water heater.
Do not remove the anode rod from the water heaters tank, except for inspection and/or replacement, as operation with the anode rod removed will greatly shorten the life of the glass lined tank and will exclude warranty coverage. The anode rod should be removed from the water heaters tank annually for inspection and replaced when more than 6 inch of core wire is exposed at either end of the rod.
In addition, some of these waters have excessive sulfate content along with various strains of sulfate reducing bacteria (see Document 1206). These bacteria, harmless to health, will grow in the presence of the highly active magnesium anode rod and using the hydrogen ion from the anode-cathode reaction, will produce hydrogen sulfide gas. The gas smells like rotten eggs. The greater the activity of the anode, the more hydrogen ions are produced and the more hydrogen sulfide (smelly) gas. These bacteria can be killed with adequate additions of chlorine, such as with an automatic chlorine feeder.
The R-tech anode rod was developed to operate in a broad range of waters without the sensitivity to the various water conditions. This anode or a variation there of, has been used over 15 years in gas water heaters with minimal problems with odors. With the invention of the resistored electric heating element, Rheem now uses the Rtech anode rod in electric water heaters. In doing this, we are now able to efficiently utilize the R-tech anode in all type of water conditions.