Every homeowner is eventually faced with the prospect of replacing the hot water tank at some point. Where you live determines the average lifespan of a hot water tank because of the water content. So for instance, living on the west coast means you have to deal with slightly corrosive water because of the alkalinity.
You have a few choices when buying a water heater, the two basic choices being the traditional tank type or the newer tankless water heaters. Asking around will reveal a variety of opinions on the tankless water heater, and ultimately you will have to decide if the extra cost for this type of water heater is worth it.
From conversations I’ve had with a few plumbers the choice boils down to either the short term cost or long term savings. If you are not planning on living there too much longer then it might be wise to go with the old school hot water heater. If you have set down roots where you live then the tankless is the better choice for long term savings.
Hot Water Tank Maintenance
To help extend the life of your tank, it is a good idea to flush it every couple years. Here are four basic steps broken out for you.
1. Turn Off The Water Supply
If you have an electric water heater turn off the power at the main switch. If you have a gas heater, turn the thermostat to “pilot” setting. Using your garden hose attach it to the drain valve near the bottom of the tank.
2. Drain The Water
Turn off the water supply and drain the tank into the sewer line. (get a bucket or run the hose outside if you don’t have a sewer drain close by)
3. Flush The Tank
Once you have drained the tank, close the valves and re-fill it to flush. Drain once again and repeat until the water runs clear
4. Test The Pressure Release Valve
The basic difference between the two is the amount of energy needed to heat the water. Traditional hot water tanks continually use energy to keep the water at a constant temperature, whereas the tankless type uses energy on demand.
Number of Occupants
You also need to consider the number of people in the house. The tankless water heater is great if there are three or fewer people living in your home. If there are four or more people in your home then chances are good that the tankless water heater will not be able to handle the demand.
There is also the possibility that everyone will want to shower at the same time unless you have rules for when to shower. Doing laundry would have to be later in the day and running the dishwasher at the same time someone is showering will probably cause a problem. On the other hand a hot water tank can be sized up to match the number of people in your home.
So when your hot water tank pops a leak and you need to call a plumber, think about your options and do a little research online to price out the options. Knowing what you are talking about when discussing this with your plumber will tell him you are knowledgeable in this area and he will respect your choice without trying to sell you the most profitable hardware according to their connections.
How To Flush a Hot Water Tank
Wait until the tank has re-filled before turning on the power to the electric water heater. Once the water temperature has been brought back up, test the pressure-relief valve. This is a safety device designed to prevent excess pressure build-up or overheating. If the pressure relief valve is faulty, you may need to have it replaced by a licensed plumber like Mr Rooter.
Mr. Rooter Plumbing
Vancouver, BC, V5L 2C3