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Old 12-14-2012, 09:44 AM   #1
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Hot Water Anode: Aluminum vs Magnesium


What is the verdict on this? Are Aluminum hot water heater anodes bad for your health?

Specifically, is there a good reason to avoid Aluminum anodes in hot water heaters due to the potential health risks of aluminum? Does the FDA or any other regulating body have standards for how much aluminum is deposited in solution form in the water from the anode? Has anyone has seen a scientific study paper or whatever that shows that "aluminum rods release x mg/L of aluminium into the water", etc. It might then suggest that water heater manufactures would be limited to using x cm^2 total surface area of aluminum in their products such that the exposure to humans is reduced below x mg/L per day, etc for the purpose of hot water for cooking and bathing.

Why don't you see hot water heaters made entirely out of aluminum? Seems like they would last longer..

I was hoping that someone in the plumbing industry has seen something on this topic other than various propaganda websites.


Last edited by zootjeff; 12-14-2012 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:49 AM   #2
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Hot Water Anode: Aluminum vs Magnesium


Are you planning to eat one of them? If so, that would probably be bad for your health. Are you planning on using hot water for drinking? There could be all sorts of dissolved minerals in hot water. Most people drink cold water, which could well be isolated from the hot water side if you have a backflow preventer in the system.

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Old 12-14-2012, 09:57 AM   #3
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Hot Water Anode: Aluminum vs Magnesium


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Are you planning to eat one of them? If so, that would probably be bad for your health. Are you planning on using hot water for drinking? There could be all sorts of dissolved minerals in hot water. Most people drink cold water, which could well be isolated from the hot water side if you have a backflow preventer in the system.
I have a one year old that likes to drink bath water. He has a developing brain. I'll edit my main post.

Last edited by zootjeff; 12-14-2012 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 12-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #4
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Hot Water Anode: Aluminum vs Magnesium


Quote:
Originally Posted by zootjeff View Post
is there a good reason to avoid Aluminum anodes in hot water heaters due to the potential health risks of aluminum
Prolly the same as cooking in aluminum pots and pans, or drinking from aluminum pop cans (yes I know the inside of the can is often plastic-coated, but your drink still touches the outside of the can lip as you drink it).

Quote:
Why don't you see hot water heaters made entirely out of aluminum? Seems like they would last longer..
You wouldn't want to pay $2,000 for an aluminum one when steel is $500.

Anyway, the steel water heaters are glass-lined. There's only a tiny bit of steel exposed at the fittings etc. And, if you keep up on anode replacements, steel can last a very very long time. Decades.

Thing is, most people never bother to flush their tanks, so sediment builds up on the bottom and damages the glass lining. And nobody I know ever replaces the anode at 6-year intervals (or whenever local water conditions indicate). Lack of maintenance is what kills water heaters, not any inherent flaw in glass-lined steel water vessels.
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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Hot Water Anode: Aluminum vs Magnesium


Thanks to all. I did some research on the anodes and from what I read the difference in warranty length is based on the type of anode you get, so its better to buy a tank with a lesser warranty and then put in a Magnesium Anode in a couple of years.

I cant imagine that the a baby can drink enough bath water to make a difference in how much aluminum he gets in his system, he would retch from the soap in the water. I would worry more about diarrhea
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