Don’t Fall For The Sacrificial Anode Replacement Rip-Off

Don’t Fall For The Sacrificial Anode Replacement Rip-Off

The Sacrificial Anode Replacement Rip-Off 

The great sacrificial anode replacement rip-off resurfaces every few years.

The routine invariably starts in the middle of the day with a knock on the door by a friendly “salesman”. After warm greetings, they state they are in your neighbourhood doing some work and that a neighbour had suggested they do the same “free check” on your hot water service.

This unsolicited pitch or a variation of it is the signature pitch of conmen who prey on unsuspecting homeowners, especially the elderly creating fear about their hot water tank. Commonly they display a great deal of empathy and concern and are only doing the “free check” of your hot water service as one of your neighbours had already had theirs repaired and were concerned for you.

The “free check” invariably concludes with you urgently needing a sacrificial anode replacement. If you have water stains on your hot water tank similar to the photo below then you have a leak in the tank.

What Is A Leaking Sacrificial Anode

As you can see below this tank needed replacement as it was leaking around the sacrificial anode. Installing a new sacrificial anode will achieve nothing.

A leaking hot water tank cannot be repaired.

Even if your hot water tank is not leaking the friendly salesman will assure you it is about to start leaking if you don’t replace the sacrificial anode now.

To back it up he will have information from the manufacturers about replacing the sacrificial anode backed up by horror photos.

Does A Sacrificial Anode Need Replacing?

Yes, your sacrificial anode on your hot water service should be checked at least every 5 years.

But if it has never been checked or replaced and your hot water service is over 10 years old you are wasting your time replacing it as the damage has already been done to your steel storage tank.

The photo above illustrates perfectly a brand new sacrificial anode at the top of the photo. The sacrificial anode in the bottom of the photo was removed after nine years inside a hot water tank.

 Basically your hot water tank is prevented from rusting away by the sacrificial anode. The anode corrodes instead of the steel tank which is the cathode. This principle of electrolytic corrosion control is described as cathodic protection. Hence the term sacrificial anode. As a cathodic surface cannot rust, the steel hot water tank is protected as long as the anode is whole and working.

These days the majority of hot water tanks last around 12 to 15 years. The sacrificial anode prolongs the life of your hot water tank. But once the anode becomes ineffective the steel tank is no longer a cathode and begins to rust from the inside. Once the rusting process begins, it takes about 3 to 5 years for it to eat away through the steel tank wall. 

Who Can Replace A Sacrificial Anode?

As with any plumbing fixture, only a licenced plumber working for a QBCC licensed plumbing contractor can replace a sacrificial anode.

Take it from me knocking on your door and cold-calling is not a professional or viable way to market or operate a plumbing business.

In all likelihood, the person knocking on your door is not a licensed plumber or a licensed plumbing contractor. Simply ask them to produce their licenses. In our experience, they are not a plumber but ordinary old con artists who have no experience or knowledge in servicing a hot water service.

Don’t Fall For The Sacrificial Anode Rip-Off

Don’t Fall For The Sacrificial Anode Rip-Off

It is normally the routine of a knock on the door by a friendly “salesman” stating they were in your neighbourhood doing some work and that a neighbour had suggested they do the same “free check” on your hot water service.

This unsolicited pitch or a variation of it is a signature of rip-offs who prey on gullible homeowners, especially the elderly. They commonly show a great deal of empathy and concern and are only doing the “free check” of your hot water service as your neighbour had already had theirs repaired and were concerned for you.

sacrificial anodes hot waterIn the photo on the left the anode on the left was replaced by Whywait Plumbing with the one on the right with the differences between old and new perfectly illustrated.

Take it from me knocking on your door and cold-calling is not a professional or viable way to market or operate a plumbing business.  And yes to work on your hot water service you must be a licensed plumber. In all likelihood the person knocking on your door is not a licensed plumber or a licensed plumbing contractor and in our experience they are ordinary old con artists who have no experience or knowledge in servicing a hot water service.

Yes your sacrificial anode on your hot water service should be checked at least every 5 years. But if it has never been checked and your hot water service is over 7 years old you are wasting your time replacing it as the damage has already been done to your steel storage tank.

Why Do I Need To Maintain My Hot Water System

During much of the year on the Gold Coast we frequently hear clients ask why do I need to maintain my hot water system there is nothing wrong with it and I’m still getting plenty of hot water. In summer it is easy to forget just how much we depend on our hot water systems for showering, bathing, cooking, washing dishes and washing laundry.

Why Do I Need To Maintain My Hot Water System

But by April many people suddenly appreciate just how important their hot water system is when it fails to deliver enough or frequently no hot water. Frequently the signs that there is a problem with the hot water system have been there for months and often would have been diagnosed and rectified as part of an annual service. Because hot water systems appear to be complicated many people adopt a head in the sand approach but in reality like most working fixtures in your home they will always benefit immensely from a bit of routine maintenance

In over 37 years of experience we at Whywait Plumbing are well aware that Murphy’s Law applies usually in a spectacular fashion to the failure of a hot water system with most of them failing and leaking late at night usually when it is very cold. In all honesty basic maintenance of your hot water system is fairly simple but vitally it can double the effective lifespan of your hot water system.

To maintain your hot water system the main things you need to allow for are:

  • replacing the sacrificial anode every 5 – 7 years
  • flushing out all of the minerals and sediment that over time are deposited in the bottom of the storage tank every 3 – 5 years
  • have the tempering valve maintained, tested and certified every year
  • flush the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) every 3 – 6 months
  • replace the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) every 3 – 4 years
  • replace the expansion control valve (ECV valve) every 3 – 5 years

Apart from flushing the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve) all the other work is legally required to be undertaken by a licensed plumber.

Most concerning from our perspective is the failure to replace the sacrificial anode which is the biggest single cause of premature hot water service failure. Regularly replacing your sacrificial anode will extend the life of your hot water service by ten years or even more.  Whywait strongly recommend that you call us to service your  hot water system and replace the sacrificial anode every 5 years as the cost of the service is minor compared to the thousands of dollars replacement costs not mentioning the inconvenience.

The one task we recommend you personally undertake is to activate and flush the  temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve. TPR valves continuously work automatically discharging hot water if the temperature or pressure of the water in the storage tank gets too high. Many people fail to understand if your TPR valve is not functioning properly it can potentially cause the tank to explode.

Flushing a TPR valve is relatively easy and straightforward, plus is something you can do yourself, but if the valve is already continually dripping water in all likelihood it needs replacing. To trigger the relief valve and flush it out all you need to do is lift the lever on the front of the valve all the way open and let water discharge from the drain pipe for 5 – 10 seconds then slowly put back the lever in place.

Very simply maintaining your hot water system is an investment not a cost.

By Gary Mays

 

Call Now ButtonCALL NOW