This picture illustrates one of the things that can break down over time in a water heater.
The rod in this picture is called an anode. The anode is designed to keep your water tank in full working condition over time by drawing corrosion to itself instead of the metal tank, which keeps the inside from deteriorating. When the anode itself has disintegrated to this point, corrosion can quickly destroy the inside of your tank. Call Advantage at 847-268-3553 today to get your water heater inspected.