Four Reasons For Rust In A Water Heater Tank

Posted on: 21 August 2020

Whether there is rusty orange colored water coming out of the hot water taps or you simply notice some rust or corrosion on the outside of the tank, prompt action is needed. Rust isn't common on water heaters, but it can happen. When it does, the problem needs to be quickly repaired or the tank replaced before a major leak occurs. The following are some of the reasons why a water heater may rust.

1. Hard Water

Hard water, particularly if there are minerals like sulfur present that raise the acidity of the water, can lead to rust and corrosion. Flushing the tank annually to remove the collected hard mineral residue can postpone corrosion issues, but it may not eliminate the problem entirely. You may need to have a water softener installed on your home water main. The softener removes minerals from the water before they even enter the tank, so you won't have to worry about mineralization effects on your hot water heater.

2. Failed Anode Rod

Every water heater tank has at least one sacrificial metal rod, which is called an anode rod. The rod is made of a metal that is more reactive than that of which your water heater is made of, which means it will rust before the water heater tank can. Over time, rust will eat away at the anode rod. Once it is badly damaged, the tank will begin to corrode. Fortunately, you can replace the anode rod before this occurs, which will prolong the life of your hot water heater tank.

3. External Moisture

Although the water heater is made to withstand rust and corrosion from moisture exposure inside the tank, it can not handle prolonged moisture outside of the tank. This moisture can come from a damp basement or utility room, or it can be a result of slow leaks from the heater itself. For example, if there is always some water in the drain pan beneath the hot water heater, a seal is leaking and needs to be replaced before further damages occur. If your the utility room is damp, the leaks need to be addressed or the basement needs to be waterproofed.

4. Damage

Damage to the outside of the water tank shell can scrape off the finish and even leave a dent or a crease. This exposed metal will be more likely to develop rust simply from exposure to the moisture and oxygen in the air. Avoid storing anything near the water heater, since this will cut down on the chances of damage. If your tank does become damaged, you need a repair tech to address the problem quickly.

If you notice rust or corrosion on your water heater or in the water, contact a water heater repair service immediately.


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