1Touch Plumbing & Gas

How Long Do Hot Water Systems Last?

5 factors that impact longevity

Quality of construction

The quality of the water heater itself is the primary factor that impacts longevity. A water system made by a reputed manufacturer will always last longer than one made by an unknown ‘imported’ manufacturer.

Thermostats and printed circuit boards (PCBs) are the most likely components to fail. So the higher quality these components are when new, the longer they will last. This is especially true for PCBs because they expand and contract as the water is heated.

Tank material

The construction of the tank and where it has been installed can also have a major impact on how long your system lasts. Copper tanks are the most durable, but they’re also the most expensive. Glass fibre tanks are the cheapest but don’t last as long.

The following is a guide to how long each tank material should last:

Copper tanks – 25 years

Stainless steel tanks – 10-12 years

Glass or enamelled lined tanks – 5-10 years

The above numbers represent an average across Australia. By looking after your tank, you can extend its life by several years. It is not uncommon for stainless steel tanks to last 15-20 years, for example.

The type of hot water system

The type of hot water system you have will also impact longevity. For example, systems that store water in a tank don’t typically last as long as on-demand systems, but they are cheaper to install.

Gas-fired and heat pump systems also don’t last as long as electrically powered systems because they contain more moving parts. As a result, you can expect gas and heat pump systems to last around 5 years less than an electrically powered system.

Frequency of use

Not surprisingly, water systems that are used often won’t last as long as systems that are barely used, but most good quality systems should provide at least 10-years of reliable use so long as they have been installed correctly and maintained properly.

Water quality

The quality of water in your neighbourhood also has a major impact on longevity. Hard water causes mineral deposits to build up in the pipes, hoses and drains. These deposits are almost impossible to remove once established and will eventually lead to failure.

You can help reduce the risk of mineral build-up using additives, but you can’t eliminate it. So if you live in a hard water area, expect your hot water system to last several years less than those in soft water areas.

How to make your hot water system last longer?

Give the heater room to breathe

Water heaters need space to breathe. So make sure the area around the pump is free from clutter and ensure any vents on the front and side of the heater are kept clear at all times to reduce the risk of overheating.

Insulate hot and cold pipes

Insulating both the hot and cold water pipes will prevent them from sweating or forming condensation during the summer months. Wrap self-sticking insulation foam around the pipes, covering as much of them as you can.

Use water softener

As we mentioned earlier, mineral deposits can reduce the lifespan of your hot water system. So if you live in a hard water area, consider adding a water softener to the system. This will significantly increase its lifespan and improve its efficiency.

Maintain it regularly

You should maintain your hot water system in line with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Most systems require annual maintenance checks to ensure everything is working safely and efficiently.

Check the anode rod

The anode rod helps to protect the inside of the water tank from corrosion. Unscrew the rod from the top of the tank and make sure it is not covered with calcium. If it is, consider replacing it, or give us a call and we’ll do it for you.

Does your hot water system need replacing?

Is your hot water system not working efficiently or breaking down more often? This is a sure sign that your system needs replacing. 1 Touch Plumbing is one of Townsville’s leading domestic plumbing companies.

As a family business, we are committed to providing the best service to our customers, both new and old. So if you think your hot water system needs replacing, complete the contact form here or give us a call on (07) 4795 7426 for a FREE no-obligation quote.

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