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Inquiries and Emergency Services

How Long Should A Water Tank Last?

Posted on November 27, 2018
by Appleby Systems

How often do you think about your water tank? It usually sits in the darkest corner of your basement, uncared for until something goes wrong.

It’s usually a cold shower on a frigid day alerting you to the rough shape of your water tank.

A repair could do the trick, but there is a point where diminishing returns dictates the money you spend on repairs is better spent on a new tank.

These 4 signs usually mean a replacement is the most economical choice for your family.

#1 – Where’s the hot water?

When you crank the shower as hot as it goes and all you get is a cold shock, it could be:

  • Corrosion in a pipe that sends cold water to the bottom of the tank where it gets heated
  • An overloaded gas valve, so the burner can’t get what it needs to heat your water
  • Failing electrical elements

All are expensive, time consuming repairs, and your money is better used toward a new water tank that won’t incur these types of expenses for more than a decade.

#2 – Something’s leaking

Leaks signal the end of a water tank’s useful life. These are commonly found in tanks more than a decade old.

Leaks can be hidden, so if you can’t spot yours, it might be:

  • In the sidewall seam
  • At a welded joint
  • Near rusted threads

Hidden leaks like these can’t be repaired (at any kind of reasonable cost at least). You have a clean, efficient new water tank in your future.

#3 – The gas pilot won’t light

The gas pilot is kind of a big deal for your water heater. Without the gas pilot, you aren’t getting any hot water.

More often than not, the culprit is the thermocouple.

  • If the thermocouple is in the right place and the pilot still goes out, there’s something wrong with it.
  • If you replace the thermocouple and the pilot goes out, it’s the electromagnet that’s not working (requiring a new gas valve).

You should never pay to replace the gas valve. If it’s covered by your warranty, get it replaced. But if it isn’t, a new tank is a better use of your money.

#4 – Water doesn’t drain from my tank during maintenance

Annual hot water tank maintenance always includes draining the tank.

If it doesn’t, sediment builds up in the bottom, degrading the structure of the tank.

As sediment settles between the flame and the water, the flame burns longer to heat the water. This breaks down the tank, and wastes energy (your money) in the meantime.

At a certain point, the sediment is too thick to remove and a new tank is the only option.

New water heaters are more efficient and longer lasting than ever before.

If yours shows any of these signs, call us to take a look. If your tank is on the way out, it’s better you know now so you can adjust your budget.

We’ll help you understand all your options so you can make the most informed decision about your new hot water tank.

Call us to talk about it today.

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