Understanding Rust on your Hot Water Tank
When water contacts metal over long periods of time, rust is inevitable. Water heaters are in constant contact with water as they hold a large supply to provide your home with the convenience of hot water on demand. With proper upkeep and maintenance your hot water tank should be good for many years. But when rust happens, does it mean it's time to replace your tank?
There are a number of places that rust can occur, and each has its own problem.
In the Water
If you see rust or discolouration coming from your taps during hot water distribution, it doesn't necessarily mean your tank is the problem, but there's a strong chance it is. It is common for sediment to build up in your tank over the years, giving your water a discoloured look. This can usually be fixed with a tank flush. However, if the colour is actually rust, this means the tank is rusting on the inside. If this is the case, it is recommended to replace your tank.
Rust Along the Heat Exchanger
If you spot rust near the bottom of the tank, it could be rust developing around the heat exchanger. Often a technician can replace the heat exchanger. The quicker your fix this problem the better as a rusted heat exchanger can crack cause a gas leak.
Rust at the Top
This is often due to a leak in the water connection where water drips on top of the tank. This could be as simple as fixing a leaky pipe as long as the rust has been spotted in a timely matter. A technician should be called to fix the leaking pipe asap.
Rust Along the Tank
Rust running vertically along the tank itself is usually a fatal sign. It means the tank probably needs to be replaced. It is common for tanks that are about 15-20 years old to meet this fate and a replacement would be in your best interest.
The best way to keep rust away from your water heater is to ensure it is sealed air tight, have it maintained annually and repair minor problems asap before they turn into much larger problems.
At 4 Seasons Heating, Cooling & Electrical we are hot water experts. We have the knowledge to spot problems and make recommendations based on the symptoms of your tank. We offer 24/7 emergency service and free sales consults. To talk to one of our sales or service techs, call (204) 953-5700.