Checking Water Quality – Its Role in Hot Water Cylinder Maintenance

Hot water cylinders are widely used in the country, especially in residential areas. The system is usually comprised of water pipes connected to a broiler. Heated water travels out from the tank to the kitchen tap, bathroom shower, or any other parts of the house that require water use. Then, as the hot water exits, the tank draws in cold water and heats it again. The cycle repeats every time you use up water. According to Smarter Homes, with proper cylinder maintenance, you will never run out of hot water in your household for about 20 to 40 years. 

Unfortunately, hot water cylinder maintenance is most likely the last thing you think of when you list your usual home maintenance tasks. If you want to ensure your cylinder’s optimum condition, be sure to schedule regular check-ups and maintenance. You can start your routine by testing the water quality. 

You can use chlorine and hard water testing kits to check your home’s water quality. Alternatively, you can call in a plumbing company to have the water checked, and the cylinder inspected for possible damage.

Why Checking the Water Quality Matters

Not too long ago, Stuff published a report on Michael Neilson, a homeowner in Christchurch, who complained about his hot water cylinder failing after adding chlorine to the water. Neilson holds the Christchurch council accountable and demanded them to shoulder the $2167 bill. He is the second person to challenge the board in the last few years after the chlorination of the city’s water supply. Both the plumber and insurer confirmed his claim explaining that the damage indeed resulted from too much chlorine. 

The council has confirmed in earlier reports that the chlorine content of Christchurch’s water is indeed high. And yet, they still haven’t paid for the bill of Mr. Neilson. 

It is an upsetting situation, but it’s also the perfect example to emphasize the importance of checking water quality. If chlorine or other chemicals in the water exceed normal levels, it could result in a disaster similar to Neilson’s water heater problem.

How to Test Water Quality and What to Do When the Quality is Poor

If your water contains excessive amounts of chlorine, it could corrode the cylinder. In a typical setting, stainless steel doesn’t rust. But, if it’s exposed to chemicals such as chlorine, the passive layer of the metal slowly breaks down. The best way to get around the issue is to use chlorine treatment and filters. Also, if you move to an area with high water’s chlorine level, it may be worth it to invest in a copper cylinder.

On one hand, if the problem is caused by high levels of minerals like magnesium and calcium, your cylinder may suffer from pitting corrosion. The excess calcium or magnesium binds to free-floating chlorine. The process produces calcium chloride or magnesium chloride, which can attack both stainless steel and copper cylinders’ molecules. If you detect high levels of such minerals, you can use a water softener or schedule regular cylinder flushing.   

With regular maintenance checks, it would be easier for you to spot potential problems. This way, you get to use basic solutions and prevent damages to your hot water cylinder. If you suspect damage on your cylinder due to high chlorine, calcium, or magnesium, it’s highly recommended to have it checked right away. 

Call for Help When Needed

Oftentimes, it’s intimidating to do maintenance checks for usual home equipment like hot water cylinders. It can be challenging for some to spot the first signs of problems. Fortunately, there are a lot of professionals who can help you with plumbing works and water heater-related concerns. All you need is to call their attention and book an appointment. If you have problems with your heater, don’t hesitate to call for help.