Winter Preparation 2 — Don’t Take Your Hot Water Tank For Granted
Hot water is often something that we don’t think about until it’s not there. Since your hot water heater is responsible for providing you and your tenants with clean and hot water, it’s absolutely imperative that your hot water tank is regularly maintained.
Canadians use an average of 75 litres of hot water in their homes each day, according to a Government of Canada report. Unfortunately, water doesn’t arrive in our homes heated, and the most efficient and common way to heat this water is through hot water tanks located in the basement of every building.
Just like everything in our home, however, these heaters require frequent maintenance to consistently ensure that your tenants are never without hot water. For hot water tank repair in Toronto, we recommend that your water heater is flushed and inspected twice a year to maintain optimal performance.
Why it’s so important to maintain your water heater
When water is heated, calcium carbonate precipitates out and sinks to the bottom. Calcium, along with iron and magnesium deposits building up along the bottom, sides, and valves, can harden and block water flow.
Due to water sitting in your water heater tank, sediment and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium separate from the water and sink to the bottom. This sediment eats away at metals and hardens, potentially forming a barrier between the burner and the water and blocking water flow passages.
A buildup of sediment can completely prevent the drain valve from working properly, add a foul smell to your water, and even end up costing you more money because of the inefficient operation of your unit.
While these small amounts of sediment aren’t dangerous or toxic, the more they build up, the more damage is being done to your unit, and the harder they have to work to heat your shower water. The efficiency in gas heaters can be reduced to 60% when sediment builds up and covers the heat transfer surfaces. For electric heaters, a buildup of sediment can cause the lower element to burn out and require replacement.
For buildings that are heated by water, it’s absolutely necessary to ensure that your hot water heaters are regularly maintained before frigid cold sets in.
How to Maintain it:
Hot water tank maintenance factors in a couple of tasks that should be regularly monitored to prevent extensive sediment buildups and to keep your unit working as effectively as possible.
There are three different aspects that you should regularly keep an eye on:
- Anode replacement: In your water heater, corrosion is a fact of life. Metal will get eaten away by minerals in the water. However, an anode is screwed into the top of the tank and acts as a distraction, corroding itself instead of metals inside your tank. Checking the decomposition level on your anode is incredibly important to get an idea of corrosion inside your tank.Once your anode is halfway corroded, it’s time to replace it to prevent the inside of your tank from water damage.
- Regular Flushing: For proper hot water tank maintenance, we suggest that the water is flushed twice a year in order to remove the buildup of sediment that can restrict heat transfer from the elements to the water.
- Consider using a water softener: Hard water has more minerals and metals in it than soft water, and can therefore cause sediment and corrosion to occur at a faster rate. A water softener can be used to slow these damaging effects.
- Checking pressure valves: As a safety mechanism, a pressure valve opens to release internal tank pressure. If this malfunctions, it could mean serious trouble. It’s recommended that this is also checked every 6 months to ensure safe performance.
Warning Signs That It Needs Repair:
Now that you understand everything you can do to keep your hot water tank in tip-top shape, what are some surefire signs that you need to call a plumber to inspect it?
- A sudden spike in your utility bills. Considering that, on average, 15% to 25% of your energy consumption bill can be attributed to your water heater, an inefficient unit can cost you quite a lot.
A buildup of sediment, or even old age and corrosion can cause your water heater to work harder to heat the water. If you’re seeing an unexplained jump in your energy bills, your hot water tank could be the culprit.
- A leaking or rusted tank. If the drain valve at the bottom of the tank is leaking, this could not only cause a pool of water around the tank, but depending on the consistency of the leak it could potentially cause damage to anything stored near it.
Rust on the unit itself is a surefire sign on your units age and could be the cause of external cracks. As these cracks grow, the integrity of your water tank is lessened and it could break and cause a flood.
- Poor water quality. After a number of years, the buildup of sediment in your hot water tank simply cannot be cleaned. This will result in rust-coloured or foul smelly water being pumped into your tenants units. An entire replacement may be needed, but it’s best to have it inspected before jumping to conclusions.
- Noisy operation. Cracks, pops, hisses, or other odd noises are the result of sediment and scale buildup on the heating elements. It’s time for a flush!
For hot water tank repair in Toronto, Canadian Pipe Lining Technologies are a committed team of plumbers that can assist in the proper maintenance of your pipes and water systems.
In case you’ve experienced a hot water tank malfunction, our emergency service technicians are available to help minimize damage and ensure that your tenants aren’t without hot water for long.