The Plumbing Connection

Volume 1 | Issue 7

Brought to you by Herkowski Stickler & Associates

Your Trusted Rep Solution Since 1931

Tech Talk

The Anode Rod

In a water heater, an anode rod, also referred to as a “sacrificial” rod, is consumed as it “gives up” its electrons to protect the carbon steel tank (cathode). The two main factors that contribute to anode activity are anode material and water chemistry.

The Anode:

Magnesium, is a leading anode material given its ability to best protect the steel tank, “gives up” electrons more freely than aluminum. In some situations where water is more conductive, i.e., softened water or lower pH levels, this sacrificial process is accelerated; in those cases, aluminum is a better choice.

Water Chemistry:

Water chemistry not only affects conductivity and how quickly the anode is consumed but also contributes to situations like “rotten egg smell.” 

Water hardness is often considered, but other conditions affecting anode rod performance include:

1.  Dissolved solids like calcium and lime.

2.  Sulfur content.

3.  Use of a water softener.

4.  Municipal vs. well water.

5.  Non-harmful sulfur-eating bacteria.

Some of these conditions could be defined as “good” by conventional water testing standards, while still accelerating the anode's sacrificial process.

Indications that water testing and/or anode material change may be needed include, but are not limited to:

1.  “Air” or “sputtering” in the hot water when faucets are turned on.

2.  Smelly hot water.

3.  Discolored or cloudy hot water.

Service Recommendations

For air in the hot water lines, service action includes:

1.  Replace the anode rod(s) with a less reactive material - magnesium to aluminum, or aluminum to aluminum alloy.

2.  As Water chemistry frequently changes, be sure to understand current water conditions. Water test parameters to consider include:

a.  pH level (7 is neutral and ideal).

b. Hardness check:

                              i.  Overly softened water will increase conductivity.

                              ii.  10 – 12 grains per gallon hardness is a common target.


With smells or discoloration in the water, draining the hot water system and chlorinating the water heater and hot water piping is recommended. 

What's Happening at HSA?

Back to School Basics

HSA Gives Back has teamed with the Sheboygan Community Recreation Department to assist with the Back-to-School Basics school supply giveaway on Saturday, August 12, 2023 at a local Sheboygan, WI grade school. In addition to a monetary donation, HSA employees will be sorting and bagging school supplies the day before the event to help streamline the handout process.


We are reaching out to our manufacturers, customers, and business partners, giving them the opportunity to join forces with HSA in this charitable endeavor to make a bigger impact. We have created a Givebutter link if you would like to donate to the cause. There is absolutely no obligation, however, if you would like to donate, please provide your company name so we can give credit.


It costs approximately $16 to supply one child with basic school supplies, including notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, glue, and glue sticks. For example, a donation of $160 will serve 10 children.


Please click the link below to donate. We appreciate your consideration and generosity.

Click to Donate

Now Stocking Chronomite

HSA is now stocking Chronomite Select Instant-Flow® C-Micro® Point-of- Use Thermostatic Tankless Water Heaters in both our Illinois and Wisconsin warehouses.

Models include:

CM30L/120-ADJ, CM-40L/208-ADJ, CM20L/208-ADJ, and CM40L/277-ADJ

Learn More

How Can Our Products Work for Your Applications?

Through its Wisconsin and Illinois locations, Herkowski Stickler & Associates provides an extensive assortment of stock used within a variety of markets, from health care to retail, residential to municipal. Providing merchandise from leading manufacturers that have developed lines specifically for the industries we serve, HSA is able to meet the needs of organizations quickly with the best product for the situation. See our product lines by industry categories.

Industries We Serve

Manufacturer Highlights

Irrigation Systems

Charlotte Pipe, with a proud heritage of family ownership that goes back four generations, still operates on the philosophy of founder Willis Frank Dowd - provide the best service for the customer and produce the best product possible.

The company offers a complete line of irrigation piping – all proudly made in the USA to the highest quality standards.

The product line includes:

  • PR100/SDR 41 through PR315/SDR 13.5
  • D3034/SDR 35 Sewer
  • SCH 40 and SCH 80
  • Solvent Weld, Gasket, Purple Reclaim
Learn More

Protect Your Patients Where Risk is a Concern

In traditional bathroom applications, ligature points are more common than you might realize. The arrows indicate dangerous ligature points in existing bathrooms, including sinks, toilets, showers, drains, grab bars, faucets, towel hooks and toilet paper dispensers.



Explore BestCare® Products

See Our Illinois Warehouse in Action

Follow us at @HSAreps to see our latest content.


Illinois PHCC On-Line Continuing Education Classes

Registration is now open

Each class will be 4 Credit Hours (1 CE credit for each 50 minutes of instruction)

All Illinois PHCC classes also provide State hours for Certified Plumbing Inspectors. 

Saturday, September 23, 2023 - 8:00 am – 12:00 pm - (Online) $55.00 per person. Registration closes on 9/13/2023

Friday, October 6, 2023 - 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm - (Online) $55.00 per person. Registration closes on 9/25/2023

Friday, November 10, 2023 - 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm - (Online) $55.00 per person. Registration closes on 10/31/2023

Register Here

Check Our Product Lines

Download Our Wisconsin Line Card
Download Our Illinois Line Card

Stay Connected

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube  Web

Herkowski Stickler & Associates

203 South Curtis Road, Milwaukee, WI 53214 

890 Supreme Drive, Bensenville, IL 60106