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Hot Water Tanks: Comparing Sacrificial and Powered Anodes in Corrosion Protection

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In general, hot water tanks designed for residential usage are fabricated using metals such as steel. These materials are beneficial for this application because they are strong and durable. Also, metal is not vulnerable to damage when exposed to high temperatures. Unfortunately, metal tanks have one distinct weakness; they are susceptible to corrosion. Therefore, you must install a sacrificial or powered galvanic anode to protect the structure from this form of degradation. Here are some essential considerations to help you select the most suitable anode product for your home.

Water Hardness

You should think about the hardness or softness of water when choosing between a sacrificial or powered anode for your hot water tank. Your choice will determine the effectiveness of the protection system. If your home has hard water, it means that the supply has a high mineral content. These minerals increase the conductivity of water. Therefore, you can install a standard sacrificial anode or the powered alternative with excellent results. On the other hand, soft water has low mineral content which means that the conductivity is low. In this case, it is advisable to install a powered anode. This component will produce a small current, increasing the conductivity of water. Consequently, galvanic protection will be established in the tank.

Power Supply Issues

You should consider the status of your electrical supply when choosing an anode for the protection of your water heater tank. This factor is of particular importance if you are interested in a powered anode. Typically, a powered anode will need electrical current to provide galvanic protection. This mode of function is unlike the sacrificial anode which functions as long as the reactivity of the tank and the metal anode is different. If your power fails after installing your powered anode, the tank will be left without protection. Therefore, if you are in an area prone to electrical failures due to storms and inclement weather, you should purchase a conventional sacrificial anode.

Cost of Purchase

The purchase price of powered and sacrificial anodes is different. Therefore, you should evaluate this aspect before buying any product. In general, sacrificial anodes are inexpensive because they are made using common, cheap metals with relatively high reactivity. For example, magnesium anodes are the most popular; they will be corroded in preference over steel tanks. However, powered anodes are made using materials like titanium, and they require electrical components for functionality. The initial buying price will be high, but the galvanic unit will not need replacement in ideal circumstances.