Having access to hot water is a luxury that many modern families take for granted. Hot water heaters are the appliances responsible for heating a home's water, and the storage tank for many water heaters is made from metal. When metal is exposed to moisture, rust can begin to form over time.
If you think that the rust spots on your hot water heater's storage tank are nothing to be concerned about, here are two problems that rust could cause that you may have to deal with in the future.
1. Contaminated Water
Rusting on the interior wall of your hot water heater's storage tank could contaminate the water being supplied to your home. If you notice any discoloration in the hot water coming from your faucets, a rusted storage tank is likely the culprit.
Although rust is not dangerous to consume (in fact, the FDA has approved iron oxide as a food additive), when it finds its way into your water supply it could stain your clothing when you do laundry or cause rust stains to form on your plumbing fixtures. Replacing a rusted tank is the easiest way to prevent contaminated water in your home.
2. Water Damage
Your hot water heater's storage tank is equipped with an anode rod that is designed to act as a barrier against corrosion. The anode rod is made from aluminum, magnesium, or zinc. These metals are more vulnerable than the steel interior of the tank's storage drum, so corrosive agents attack the anode rod first. If you don't take the time to check and ensure the anode rod in your tank is intact, corrosive agents will begin to cause the interior of your tank to rust.
Eventually, the rust will weaken your hot water heater's storage tank and allow water to leak out. Homeowners spend an average of $2,134 repairing water damage, so failing to address rust when it appears on your hot water heater's storage tank could be a costly mistake. Be sure that you replace the anode rod regularly, and replace the storage tank if the interior succumbs to rust damage.
Watching for signs of rust in your hot water heater's storage tank is important. A rusted tank could contaminate the hot water being supplied to your home, or begin leaking and cause significant water damage within your home. Address rust as quickly as possible to extend the life of your hot water heater.