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.

Anode in a water system

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 winter!).

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.