So what do you know? Do you know the type? The size? The location of it in your home? How about the age? When it comes to hot water tanks home owners more often then not move in and if their water is hot they forget about them completely. This post hits close to home as a few days after returning from a two week vacation we noticed a small puddle around the base of the tank, For us it was luck that it didn't decide to go in our absence and that it is easily accessible and in plain view in our mud room. So $475 and a few hours later I had installed the new tank. Although lucky that the mess wasn't far worse, it was still disappointing as the tank had just past its 6 year warranty by only a couple months.
Now for me, I have a conventional electric hot water tank so it was a simple pick up and swap and I was only out the cost of the tank. However, if you can't do this on your own or have an oil fired hot water tank it is always better left to the professionals to do this work.
So here is what I think you need to know;
-Your tank has a lifespan- Most manufacturers state that tanks will last 7-12 years depending on the make. Likely why most only have warranties or 6 or 9 years.
-Your insurance doesn't care how well it works- if your tank is 10 years or older, most insurance policies don't over that tank anymore. This is am important item to note as you may need to budget for the change OR like about 50% of the homes I sell, the tanks are expired. At that point you're on the hook anyways as buyers can't get hot water tank coverage unless the tank is younger than 10. Whether you're going to list your home or buy a new one I highly recommend contacting your insurance company to review your hot water tank coverage.
-You should know where your tank is- I visit hundreds of homes every year and surprising enough, most of them have tanks that are not visible. Sometimes it is simply because they are in a storage room or on the extreme end I have seen many that actually have walls built around them. Either way you should know where your tank is and how to easily access it when the time comes to replace or in the event of an emergency leak.
-You should routinely check your tank- Like any mass produced product, some work better than others and some last longer than others. Mine lasted 6 years and I have seen ones in homes still working at 23 years! Other variables can effect the longevity as well, think water composition and how high iron effects metal. Simply keep an eye on it, if you see water around shut off the supply line and call a professional.
-What type of system do you have- Conventional Electric or Oil Fired? Solar? Find out what you have and no matter what system it is reading the manual on it is a great idea. You will be surprised at what valuable information you will find. Everything from how to install, increase or lower the water temp, increase efficiency, to what to do if the tank won't be used for an extended period of time.
If you have anything further to add to the discussion please feel free to comment!
Jason Shadbolt, BMgt
As a Realtor, Builder and previous Mortgage Specialist, if you have questions, all you have to do is ask!