When you hear the words, “emergency plumbing situation,” a burst hot water tank is likely one of the first scenarios that comes to mind.
Unfortunately, many homeowners and landlords are unaware that the average life expectancy of a hot water tank is about 8-10 years, and even more don’t know how to properly maintain their tank.
What’s An Anode?
Water heaters in North America are designed to withstand hard water conditions which is appropriate for Calgary — unless you have a water softener. To prevent the hard water from deteriorating the inside of the tank, they come complete with “sacrificial anodes”, rods made of magnesium or aluminum. The water eats away at the anodes and spares the metal tank for a period of about 3-5 years.
After those first few years, though, you should be replacing the anode rods on a regular basis — every 3-5 years is ideal. If the anodes are replaced regularly, you can get far more than the 8-10 years out of your tank. Talk about saving money (and headaches)!
Those Stains In Your Bathtub Tell a Bigger Story
What happens if you don’t replace those anodes? We know many of you are not replacing them, so here’s what’s going on in your tank right now. Due to temperature variations, the tank expands and contracts over time. This causes cracks in the interior glass lining, and the minerals in the water start to break down the steel tank. What you end up with is iron, meaning a higher iron content in the water.
Now, anyone living in Calgary knows that we already have very hard water to contend with. This doesn’t feel nice on your skin and it doesn’t create a shiny lustre in your hair. But when you add extra iron to the mix thanks to that deteriorating hot water tank, you’re looking at split ends and hair damage, and much faster breakdown of clothing such as black clothing that turn charcoal grey. It’s not great for your dishes going through the dishwasher, either, not to mention the appliances and fixtures themselves.
So why not just get a water softener? That makes everything feel and work better, right? Yes. We definitely recommend water softeners in Calgary, for your own health, for the longevity of your appliances and for the comfort of bathing and washing in the soft water.
If You Get a Softener, You Need to Know…
Whether your tank is new or old, if there are currently magnesium anodes in it, they should be switched out for aluminum anodes before installing the water softener. Chances are that if they have never been changed, then you have magnesium anodes so get them switched and save the life of your water tank.