As a servicing agency that provides trained plumber in Fort Worth, TX – one question which our customers often ask us is:
“We do all the necessary preventative maintenance to increase the service life of our water heating systems, yet, in most cases we do not get the service life which is promised. Why is that?”
And we answer them:
It’s because of the water that is being supplied to your homes…
“Wait, what?” is the surprise reaction which follows.
And it should be. After all water heater systems are all about heating the water coming from the mains. So how come an equipment which has been designed to serve a purpose is being fouled by the purpose itself?
Allow us the opportunity to explain.
Defining Water Quality
Before we start, let us clarify that we are not chemistry experts. We cannot explain the full phenomenon in detail but what we can do is help you establish basic understanding of how water quality shortens the life of water heating systems and what you can do to minimize the incurred damage.
If we roughly define water quality, we can say it is a measure of how soft or hard water is. The metric which serves to define the quality of water is the presence of carbonate and non carbonate ions (we won’t go into more details of it) in a sample. A sample which has more carbonate ions is considered hard water while a sample which has lower concentration of carbonate ions and may or may not have high concentration of non-carbonate ions is considered soft water. Both the ends of the quality spectrum affects the life of a water heating system (something which we will explain in following sections) and different regions in United States have different distribution pattern.
So let’s say if you are living in Texas you will be having a supply of hard water. Similarly, if you are living in parts of New England or Hawaii – you are being supplied with soft water.
For more information on which type of water is being supplied in your home, consult a local service agency which provide trained plumber in Fort Worth, TX.
Now you have understood the fundamentals of water quality and how it is measured – we can now focus on how it affects the service life and efficiency of residential water heaters.
How Hard Water Affects the Operation and Life of Water Heaters?
Since hard water has high concentration of carbonate ions, these mineral salts precipitate with increasing temperature and form sedimentary deposits in water heaters. This is called scaling. This scale builds up on system components which include heating elements and exchangers while some of it also settles at the bottom of tanks due to their higher density than water. These deposits may also travel with the stream and into pipes of cold water where they clog the lines. The increased scale buildup in water heaters affects the efficiency of the systems since more heat energy is required to heat a given volume of water. Moreover, since more energy is required, elements tend to get overheated which slowly reduces the life of heating systems and leads to an eventual failure. However, one advantage of increased scale deposit is that it can provide protection to heater’s metal body against corrosion.
How Different Water Heaters Fare Against Scale Deposits?
This is an important question, one which we can answer based on our experiences.
For Electric Storage Water Heaters: The components of electric storage water heaters are not too affected by scale deposits. However, once the scale settles at the bottom these systems start facing issues of overheating.
For Gas Storage Water Heaters: Gas storage water heaters are the most affected class of heating systems due to scale deposits. The scale does not only acts as an insulating layer, thereby reducing its efficiency but the overheating also dissolves the glass lining, leaving the water heater exposed to increased rate of corrosion.
For Tankless Gas Water Heaters: Scale deposits most commonly affect the pressure sensor of tankless gas water heaters, causing it to clog and reducing system’s efficiency.
Since situations may vary, it is better to contact a local trained plumber in Fort Worth, TX who will inspect the system and analyze the problem more profoundly.
What to Do To Protect Water Heater Systems Against the Damages of Scaling?
Regular flushing and de-liming are the suggested maintenance practices to minimize the damages of scaling. Make sure you call in a reliable plumber in Fort Worth, TX to service the systems. Furthermore, you can also buy water heaters which come equipped with anti-scale or self cleaning devices. Installing low watt density elements is another solution that your local plumber in Fort Worth, TX may propose to minimize overheating issues.
How Soft Water Affects the Operation and Life of Water Heaters?
Soft water tends to have higher concentration of hydrogen ions, which together with non-carbonate ions increases its potential as a corrosive agent. As a result, soft water does not significantly affect the efficiency of water heater systems but it can decrease their service life by up to 50 percent. The corrosion process revolves around an electrochemical reaction where the metal tank serves as an anode and a cathode, while the water helps in the conduction of produced ions. This corrosion primarily affects the anode rods of water heaters, causing it to dissolve with the passage of time. If proper maintenance is not carried, the life of the water heater will shorten gradually. In fact, A.O Smith, a water heater manufacturer acknowledges the corrosive potential of soft water in all its packaged systems.
What to Do to Protect Water Heater Systems Against Corrosion?
Preventive maintenance measures include getting the anode rod inspected after every 3 or 4 years by a trained plumber in Fort Worth, TX. It should be replaced if the bar core wire has been exposed by up to 6 inches due to corrosion. A plumber in Fort Worth, TX may also suggest the installation of two anode rods for additional protection.
By consulting professional experts and following a regular maintenance schedule you can minimize the damages due to varying water quality and in process increase the service life of your water heaters. If you are looking for a servicing agency that provides trained and certified plumber in Fort Worth, TX – feel free to contact us.