When you’re installing a new hot water system in your home, there are a lot of factors to consider: Upfront costs, efficiency, how many family members you have in your house, running costs… These are all valid and necessary questions. However, have you considered how long hot water systems will last? This could be the most important question to ask yourself, as it affects how many times you’ll be caught having to make these decisions all over again. When it comes to longevity, what hot water system types last the longest? How can you get the longest lifespan out of your existing hot water heater? And, is it really time to say goodbye to my existing system?
Essentially, a higher quality system is less likely to prematurely corrode, and corroding is one of the biggest reasons a hot water system will face its D Day. Do your research, read reviews and talk to a hot water specialist about the higher quality brands. Although you can’t guarantee this with everything, hot water system quality tends to scale with price.
Of course, this also applies to the type of hot water system you get. There is a range of hot water systems with their own pros and cons, and they can’t be measured equally. There are factors to electric tanks, gas, solar and heat pumps that will alter the longevity. (More on this below).
How much you use your hot water system will also impact how long it will last, with greater usage putting greater strain on the system.
Poor quality water (‘hard water’) can prematurely corrode your tank. However, if your house is routed to lower quality water, you can counteract a short life with maintenance.
Gas hot water tanks are continuous flow, so there is less risk of corrosion from water sitting in the tank for long periods. This means that a gas hot water system should last you up to 15-20 years if you keep up regular maintenance and you have access to high quality water.
Electric hot water systems tend to be more susceptible to corrosion and will last around half that of a gas water system, at around 8-15 years. Again, maintenance and water quality comes into play.
The quality of your heat pump hot water system is a big factor in its longevity, however you can expect that a renowned brand, manufactured with high quality materials and good maintenance plan in place will last you up to 15 years.
Solar hot water systems can last 10-20 years depending on the materials it is made from and the maintenance plan in place.
Getting your hot water system to last as long as possible is key to saving money long term, and avoiding inconvenient disruptions to your hot water supply (nothing worse than being hit with icy water when you’re expecting a steaming shower). So, how can you improve your hot water heaters life expectancy?
It’s life admin, but it’s worth it. Maintaining your hot water system ensures you’re dealing with small issues before they become big issues, and gives you grace time to fix the problem. Maintenance schedules differ from each hot water system, so abide by the manufacturer’s recommendations and get it done by a qualified professional.
The sacrificial anode is a rod that sits in the tank and oxidises more quickly than the tank’s metals, corroding on the tank’s behalf. If that rod is not checked regularly and replaced when needed, it hits capacity and the tank takes the brunt of corrosion.
Faulty pressure valves are common culprits to hot water systems carking it. Pressure valves regulate the pressure in the system; too high and the tank could burst, too low and it’s underperforming and could be a symptom of a function issue. Inspect it regularly, clean off any collected minerals built up around it and replace if necessary.
If it’s time to replace your hot water system, chances are you’re already experiencing the tell tale signs. Aside from the obvious disappearance of your hot water, there are a few red flags to look out for.
Your warranty is a good indication of your hot water system’s expected use by date. If you are at or beyond this time frame, it’s time to start investigating a new system. If you don’t have the system’s information, seek a professional opinion on its health and age.
Rust is corrosive and corrosion is the beginning of the end of your hot water system. If you can see rust on the fittings, you likely have a leak. This should be seen by a plumber as they can be difficult to DIY effectively.
Outside of the expected sounds you might hear from a heat pump, your hot water system should not be loud. While some hissing could be a minor issue like a faulty relief valve discharging (a relatively simple replacement), other strange noises likely mean a bigger problem.
Do you have questions regarding a new or current hot water system? Call us today for a free quote!