1. A method for protecting a furnace electrode comprising:(i) mixing an antioxidant additive with electrode cooling water to form a chemically modified cooling liquid that includes at least 99 wt. % water, the antioxidant additive having a solubility in water of at least 1,000 mg/L;
(ii) while the furnace electrode is in service melting raw materials and a portion of the electrode is positioned inside a furnace and another portion of the electrode is positioned above the furnace, spraying at least a surface of the furnace electrode that is positioned above the furnace with the chemically modified cooling liquid at a flow rate of 0.25 m3/h to 10 m3/h, and
(iii) while the electrode is being sprayed with the chemically modified cooling liquid, forming a protective barrier on the furnace electrode, the protective barrier comprising the antioxidant additive that is applied on the surface of the furnace electrode as the chemically modified cooling liquid flows down the electrode and water evaporates from the chemically modified cooling liquid,
wherein the protective barrier is formed as a two-phase coating that includes (i) a first coating that comprises the antioxidant additive which has been applied on the furnace electrode from the chemically modified cooling liquid, the first coating being located on an upper portion of an exterior surface of the electrode that is above the furnace; and (ii) a second coating comprising the antioxidant additive in a molten state, the second coating being located on a lower portion of the exterior surface of the electrode that is inside the furnace.