When we get a new water heater today, most warranties are 6 years, with the average life expectancy being around 8 years. Most warranties stipulate, however, that regular maintenance must be performed in order to keep the warranty valid. When we see a tank that has failed early, we can usually determine the cause as one of two things:
First is poor installation. This is very common of the companies who install tanks as cheaply as possible. A “do it right the first time” attitude goes a long way to ensure that your investment will last. There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing the appropriate materials and add-ons to protect your heater.
Second – and most common – is lack of maintenance. As society’s attitudes shift towards “set it and forget it”, we expect to pay for an appliance, and then not need to think about it until it’s old and needs replacement. If you need to replace a hot water tank every 7 years or less, this mindset will become very costly. Bringing a certified plumber/ gasfitter to your home every year or two allows experienced eyes to:
• Monitor for emerging issues,
• Ensure continued safe operation, and
• Remove corrosion buildup from inside the tank and burner compartment, so that the appliance can run efficiently.
Pictured is a component of the hot water tank called a “sacrificial anode”. This alloy rod takes the brunt of corrosion inside the tank to prevent premature deterioration of the steel liner inside the tank. Replacement of this rod every few years with your annual maintenance will go a long way toward making your investment last well beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.