When was the last time you did any maintenance on your hot water tank? For most of us the answer is never. It is one of the most important pieces of equipment in our home and yet we pay little or no attention to it, until it no longer delivers hot water to our taps and showers!
There are a few different types of hot water heaters, gas and electric tank systems and on demand tankless water heaters. The tankless systems take up very little space and are great for households that require a constant source of hot water. The initial cost of these units is higher than the traditional tank systems. Both do require some annual maintenance.
Photo: This Old House
- The average lifespan of any hot water heater is between 8 and 12 years.
- There is no real way to predict when your hot water tank might leak or stop working all together…this is the scary part!
- Water in or around the hot water tank is definitely a warning sign that something is wrong with your system. Don’t ignore it and call a professional to investigate.
- It is often more cost effective to replace the tank entirely than to perform repairs on it.
- Regular maintenance on both a tank and tankless system IS important: this includes flushing the system a minimum of once per year to remove the sediment that builds up reducing efficiency. You can call in a professional to perform this job.
Also, Test the pressure relief valve on tanks systems by lifting the valves handle and letting it snap back. It should release a burst of water into the overflow drainpipe.
- Since we have hard water in Calgary our hot water tanks get a bigger workout. Softened water will extend the life of your hot water system as it reduces the amount of sediment present within the tank or system.
Replacing Your Hot Water Tank
Your existing tank has a nameplate on the side that states capacity, insulation or R value, working pressure, model and serial number. Check this out as it can serve as a starting point for your new purchase.
The approximate cost for a 40-50 Gallon hot water tank including installations is between $900-$1000. Cost of installation depends on venting currently in place and any retrofitting that is required as a result of changes in equipment.
The approximate cost for a continuous tankless hot water system is $2100 for the unit alone. The installation cost is highly dependent on the venting location and varies by home. If you are considering one of these units, get an installation quote before proceeding so there are no surprises.
Most tankless units can provide up to 3.5 gallons of heated water per minute. These units are a good choice for anyone whose demand doesn’t typically call for hot water at more than two points at a time.
Calgary plumbers can deliver and install a new hot water tank or perform maintenance on your existing system. Some plumbing companies are better equipped to respond quickly.
Canyon Plumbing, Precision Plumbing, A.R. Wright Plumbing and Heating, as well as many others, can respond to your hot water tank needs. I spoke with Precision Plumbing and they told me that for $989 they will install a new 40 gallon Rheem tank, take away the old tank, and service any future issues on the new warranted tank at no charge. Canyon Plumbing also offers the Rheem tank installed for $895. Costs may vary if the installation requires any venting modifications so be aware that this might occur.
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