5 tips for making your water heater last longer

A routine checking of main parts and fixing problems promptly will ensure you get the most life out of your water heater. On average, a standard hot water unit will last about 10 years but there are certain steps you can take to make hot water heater last longer. Some say why bother and just replace the unit when it’s done for? An extra five years of efficient function and fail-safe hot water adds up to money savings and peace of mind. The benefit of this best of modern marvels translates to improved quality of life and a lower hot water bill. This is enough to motivate regular upkeep of your hot water unit.

To avoid a sudden break-down or quick failing of your hot water system it is wise to take the six following steps:

  1. Test the TPR Valve
  2. Check the Thermostatic Mixing Valve
  3. Check the Sacrificial Anode
  4. Drain the water and check for corrosion
  5. Visual checks to catch leaks and external corrosion
  • Test the TPR Valve

The temperature and pressure relief valve is a safety device that releases excess water and steam at the cut-off pressure of between 1000-1500kpa and at a temperature of about 98.89 degrees Celsius. It was first invented in 1891 and over 100 years later it is a vital part of any hot water system. The maximum pressure for a hot water tank is about 5 times that found in a standard car tyre and the top temperature is nearly at boiling point, so to go beyond these limits can be dangerous and will definitely lessen the life of your heating system. If the TPR valve stops working it is likely due to sediment build up from minerals in the water which obstruct the opening. This can overheat the element within, cause premature corrosion inside the tank, cause leakage and vibrations that damage tank structure.

To physically test the TPR valve yourself, simply move the lever up and down a few times. This should lift the attached brass stem and hot water should flow out of the drainpipe. You should hear a gurgling sound as the valve releases water into the drain tube. If no water is released you know something is wrong. Expert plumbers recommend checking the valve every month or at the very least, every 3 months.

  • Check the Thermostatic Mixing Valve

Tempering valves have now become mandatory in Australia to prevent scalding from hot water.The TMV moderates the temperature of the hot water that comes out of the tank so that it is not too hot.  Because it is not mandatory for regular homes the problem might just be the standard tempering valve. A faulty tempering valve will release either very hot or very cold water. However, it is worthwhile checking if your unit has a TMV and whether its fail-safe turn off has been tripped due to no cold water to moderate the hot. If you are unsure call upon the expertise of a professional.

  • Check the Sacrificial Anode

As the name suggests, the sacrificial anode surrenders itself by rusting first before the inside of the tank corrodes. The anode is a magnesium or aluminium rod coated in zinc that chemically brings rust causing oxygen molecules to its surface before they bind to the metal in the tank. This prolongs the life of the hot water heater up to an extra five years and should be checked every 3 to 4 years.  A plumbing professional can do this for you with expert best maintenance.

  • Drain the water and check for corrosion

Every 6 months to 1 year the hot water tank should be completely flushed of its contents and checked for corrosion and sediment build up. This can be done effectively by connecting a hose to the release valve and the water drained completely once the heater is turned off. For the best results call a professional to do this and they can give you an update on your water heater’s health. You can rely upon the expertise of plumbers to guarantee making hot water heater last longer and perform at its best.

  • Visual checks to catch leaks and external damage

One of the most simple and effective ways to lengthen the life of your home hot water system is to visually check for signs of leaking or rust on the outside of the tank. Check the unit thoroughly, especially at the valves and fittings where water can contact metal and cause rust. Look for damage to the external unit, cracks or breaks that might be the source of any leaking water. And search for signs of leakage at the base of the water heater, any pools of water, or even mould growing anywhere due to moisture from slow leaks. If uncertain about doing this call upon an expert plumber to perform this check for you. You can even schedule a complete evaluation including all of these 5 steps. The final word to make hot water heater last longer is to purchase a water heating system from a top-end model when the time to replace the old one arrives.

Repair and installation are the final resort if you find any faults and the best results for the repair of a water heating system come from professionals. To book a complete check-up or routine repair on your hot water heater in the Blue Mountains or Penrith, call Ironclad Plumbing and we’ll keep your unit lasting longer and give you the best advice on the hot water in the home. w

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