Major household repairs never come at a good time, and a failing hot water storage system in the colder months can be not only inconvenient, but downright uncomfortable as you are forced to race in and out of the shower to avoid getting pneumonia!
Of course, prevention is always better than a cure, so what steps can you take ahead of time as a homeowner or landlord to extend the life of your hot water storage system?
A Few Ingredients
Just like any system, a hot water system has a few different parts. You might not have heard of some of these before, so we’ll do a quick summary to get us all on the same page.
First of all, they have an anode, which is
essentially a long rod that runs down the centre of a hot water storage
cylinder/tank. The storage cylinder or storage system is where all of the
“reserves” of water that have been previously heated sit and wait to be used.
For activities that require large amounts of hot water, like showers, it would
take too long to heat the required amount of hot water from a cold state, so a
cylinder essentially preheats an amount of water and holds it, so it’s ready to
be used when needed.
The Bodyguard of Your Hot Water System
A sacrificial anode is pretty much exactly what
it sounds like: it takes the hit so the rest of your hot water storage system
can stay in good health. It does this by attracting the many impurities and
trace elements of metal in the water to itself. By doing this, it keeps these
materials away from the walls of the storage system. The accumulation of these
metals and impurities eventually causes the thing that they are attracted to
corrode and rust – in this case the anode. So, if you don’t have a sacrificial
anode, or the anode has already corroded, these impurities will collect on the
walls of your tank instead. And eventually, that will result in rusting,
possibly causing the tank to leak (most likely on the coldest morning in
Likewise, if you do have a sacrificial anode in
your hot water storage system, the benefits will only last as long as that
anode can continue to attract more impurities to itself. Once that anode
becomes over-saturated with the metals and trace elements it is meant to
attract, it eventually corrodes and stops working effectively.
Hot Water System Housekeeping
The regular maintenance and replacement of the
sacrificial anode in your hot water storage system can be thought of as
preventative maintenance. By doing this, you greatly reduce the risk of an
unplanned, not to mention expensive, failure of some part of your hot water
storage system down the track.
A good time cycle to test and check your hot
water storage system is every three to five years. The savings could literally
be thousands of dollars. If you’ve never checked the state of the sacrificial
anode in your hot water storage system (or if you’ve never heard of them before
today!), then we encourage you to give our friendly Salmon Plumbing team a call
on (07) 3862 2600 to arrange an appointment.