Have you ever had a routine maintenance performed on your hot water heater tank? If you haven’t, then you might be surprised to know that it is needed and required by the manufacturer. Our team at JNR Plumbing LLC wants to help you understand the basics of hot water heater systems and help you get up to speed on how to properly maintain your unit..
The actual tank part of your hot water heater is made of steel. Some tanks are made from stainless steel, but they are not common or they are called “indirect water heaters” which makes hot water from a boiler. The inner portion of a regular water heating tank has a coating which is either Glass Lined, Porcelain Enameled, Vitreous Enameled or Blue Silicon Enameled. All of these linings are commonly used in today’s, even yesterday’s water heater tanks. The most common linings are the Glass Lined tanks. This is not a sheet of glass that we would easily suspect, it’s more like a glass powder that gets heated which makes a thin coating as seem below.
As we all know steel rusts and corrodes. Imagine an old rusty cup made of steel and drinking a glass of water out of it, not too palatable huh?
Here is what the inside of an old water heating tank looks like. As you can see, that lining is gone.
There is something inside of that tank that keeps the water from attacking and corroding that lining and parts inside of the tank. It is and called a sacrificial “Anode Rod”. This rod allows the water to attack it before the tank. Changing this rod will prolong the life of your water heater whether it is new or old and gives you a better chance of the tank lasting much, much, longer.
Here is a new Anode rod and a Rod that is 3 yrs. old from city water;
Here Is another rod that was 2 years old and off city water.
As you can see, there is not much left to either of the rods and they were no longer protecting the tank.
So, what’s involved in a tank maintenance? It is simple, you have the Anode rod changed the first year you have the tank. This shows how the water is acting and what it is doing to the anode rod. Once the rod is changed, the tank needs to get flushed by a professional. This can be achieved by draining the tank through a pump, refilling the tank, and then draining again while using the waters pressure to remove the sediment sitting on the bottom of the tank. A professional should also be checking the elements or the gas valve probe to ensure function.
We have heard of professionals saying that 10 years is the life expectancy of a tank. This is true when a hot water heater is not maintained. When we cannot know the exact lifespan of a tank because it meets the various water heating needs of your home or business. In addition, we cannot know what the plumbing code will demand in 10 years since they now require a thermostatic mixing valve that adds labor time to the job. For example, 80-gallon electric heaters are no longer sold for residential use. They are still available, but they need to be purchase through a professional and are very expensive.
If you have any questions, call the professionals at JNR Plumbing LLC and find out how we can offer a maintenance plan on your water heating tank. At JNR Plumbing LLC, when we install a water heater or perform any repairs to a water heater, we show the owner’s manual showing the manufacturers requirements on maintaining the water heater tank. Schedule an appointment today! We look forward to working with you.