Photograph of a steel water tank Water Pressure Tank Life Expectancy &
Water Tank Replacement Guide
     

  • WATER TANK REPLACEMENT - Home - CONTENTS: water storage tanks - when & how to replace the water pressure tank. Where to locate the water pressure tank in relation to pump pressure controls. Table of water tank brands, warranties, warranty periods. Table of Water Storage Tank Materials, Life, Warranty Period. Steel Water Tank Rust Perforation. Where to Locate the Replacement Water Pressure Tank
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the typical life of a water pressure tank or water storage tank, and about when & how to replace a water tank
  • REFERENCES

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Water tank life, water tank replacement.

This article explains how long a water tank is expected to last (it varies) and we describe how to decide when a water tank needs to be replaced - advice about what to do when things go wrong, such as finding air and water leaks and the process of deciding to replace a water pressure or water storage tank.

We also discuss where to put the water tank in relation to the pump and pump control switch.

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WHEN TO REPLACE WATER TANKS - When do you need a new water tank?

Severe corrosion and leak at a water storage tank (C) Daniel Friedman

How Long Does a Water Tank Last?

The life expectancy of a water storage tank or water pressure tank depends on at least these variables:

  • The water tank material: fiberglass, plastic, steel, galvanized steel, epoxy coated or glass coated tank liner. In order of probable life from shortest to longer we'd pose: unlined steel water tank, glass lined or epoxy-lined water storage tank, internal bladder type water tanks that store water inside the bladder, plastic or fiberglass water tanks.
  • The water tank type: internal bladder holding water separate from air in the tank may have a longer life than a steel water tank
  • The water tank installation and maintenance: a mistake like connecting galvanized iron fittings to copper fittings (GALVANIC SCALE & METAL CORROSION) reduces tank life as can water tank installation location: in a flooding well pit, in a wet crawl space for example.
  • The water chemistry: aggressive water, more corrosive
  • Water temperature: some warranties make clear that handling water temperatures over 180F can void the tank warranty[3]
  • The amount of water usage: running more water through steel components may reduce their life
  • Regular maintenance and inspection: to check for and repair minor leaks, assure proper operating pressures
  • Water tank environment: installing a water tank in a wet crawl space or flooding well pit is surely going to reduce its life due to rust, freeze-risk, etc.

When an older type (non-captive-air) tank needs replacement (for example because it has rusted through and has perforations leaking water or air, or if adding air frequently becomes a hassle, you'll want the newer type of "captive air" or "bladder" tank.

If your tank looks like it has leprosy, if you see water streaming down its side from a "pinhole" leak, it may be possible to make a temporary emergency repair using a rubber washer and screw.

Your hardware store sells special screws for this purpose. This is only a stopgap measure. You need a new tank.

Various types of tanks uses in and around buildings are identified and explained below, including water pressure tanks, water storage tanks, range boilers for hot water, indirect fired hot water tanks, expansion tanks in attics, basements, and on heating boilers, oil storage tanks, rooftop tanks, cisterns, water pressure booster systems. We also discuss when to replace water tanks.

Table of Water Storage Tank Materials, Life, Warranty Period

[in process, suggestions welcome]

Water Pressure Tank Life & Warranty Comparison Summary by Manufacturer & Tank Type

Water Tank Type Rated Life or Warranty Comments
Amtrol, Well-X-Trol internal bladder, pre-pressurized Warranty: 7 years Product range, multiple sizes [7]
AquaTanks, polyethylene Warranty: 25 years New Zealand, export, stackable tanks, 295L to 31,000L, above ground & underground, various colours [9]
Flexcon Well-Rite, Challenger (butyl internal bladder), FlexLite, Flow-Thru, Jet Rite, FLEX 2 PRO and InWell brands Warranty: 5 years U.S., Canada, Mexico [10]
Flotec 35-Gallon internal bladder Warranty: 5 years # FP7120
Lochinvar glass lined water storage tanks Warranty: 5 years Thse [3]
Norwesco plastic aboveground water storage tanks Warranty: 3 years From date of manufacture. These tanks are used for chemical storage, not solely for water. Tank life when used for water storage may differ than when storing other chemicals. For water, these tanks meet FDA specifications for storage of potable water [2]
PVI® Storage Tanks (water heaters), glass lined Warranty: 5-20 years

AquaPLEX® engineered duplex alloy, standard tank warranty is 10 years with a 20-year option.

NICKELSHIELD® nickel-plated tank, standard tank warranty is 10 years with a 20-year option.

POLYSHIELD® polymer-lined tank, standard tank warranty is 5 years with a 15-year option.[4]

Underground plastic water tanks, polyethylene tanks, using some polypropylene or EPDM components Warranty often extends from date of manufacture, not installation Selected and installed per instructions does not void warranty for this tank type. Installing under a driveway voids warranty.
Utilitech 86-Gallon vertical, bladder, interior coated Warranty: 5 years # LPT-86
Same for smaller models
Water Worker 14GAL Horiz Pressure Tank Warranty: 5 years #HT-14HB (Sears)
Wellmate Composite Water Tanks, internal bladder, Residential application Warranty: 5 years from installation No steel components. [5]

Notes:

Watch out: in collecting water tank warranty and life expectancy data we found that the variety of tank types and tank uses produces a wide range of data. When comparing tank life expectancy or warranty be sure you are comparing tanks intended for the same application

In our experience internal bladder water pressure tanks last well beyond their warranty period. An OPINION guess woudl be 10-20 years is average for these systems.[1]

In our experience galvanized steel water pressure tanks, nearly all of which contain some sort of internal coatings, last beyond their warranty period. We've seen tanks fail in five years (aggressive water, new modern thinwalled tank, possiblyi with a defective internal coating, and we've seen older, thick-walled, well-coated galvanized steel water pressure tanks last 25 years or longer.

We do not have long term experience with fiberglass or plastic type water storage tanks but in our OPINION expect their life to be 20-25 years or more if protected from UV (for some plastics) and from mechanical damage.

Steel Water Tank Rust Perforation & Emergency Tank Repairs

Photograph of a steel water tankThis steel water storage tank is leaking. When you see damage like this on a water tank, the perforation has rusted through from inside the tank. A tank that looks like this needs to be replaced.

Watch out: don't poke at rust like this on a water tank - you are likely to change a slow seep or drip into an immediate catastrophe - the steel around the site of rust perforation is usually quite thin. You still need to replace the water tank but this approach can stop or slow a leak while you wait for the new tank to be installed.

If the rust perforation on a steel, bladderless water pressure tank is very tiny, 1/8" or so, temporary repair can sometimes be made using a special short lag-type threaded screw with a neoprene washer. Leak repair screws are sold for this use.

Details of this rusted leaky water tank leak repair procedure are
at WATER TANK PERFORATION LEAK REPAIR

Where to Locate the Replacement Water Pressure Tank

Water tank in closet (C) Daniel FriedmanLocate the pressure tank as close as practical to the pump pressure control switch. If the water pressure tank located too far from the pressure control switch, or at a different elevation from the pressure switch, the pressure switch control may not operate properly.

Amtrol™ is quite clear about the proper water pressure tank location:

The Well-X-Trol should be installed as close as possible to the pressure switch.

This will reduce the adverse effects of added friction loss and pressure switch bouncing, and the difference in elevation between WELL-X-TROL and switch.

Water pressure tanks will work rather well if placed located almost anywhere on the piping system on the same level as the pressure control switch.

Water Pressure Control Switch Contact Bounce & Short Cycling Water Pumps

But it's best to follow the Amtrol advice - keep the water tank and pressure switch close together. Incorrect water pressure tank location, too far from the pressure control switch for example, can cause improper pressure control operation or pressure control switch contact "bouncing" turning the water pump on and off too rapidly.

Photograph of a steel water tank

If you have a problem such as the pump pressure control switch bouncing (the switch turning the pump on and off rapidly at the start or end of a pumping cycle) you can relocate the pressure switch to the new larger tank and run a longer wire to the pump or pump control relay.

Other causes of pressure switch bounce and well pump short cycling are explained at WATER PUMP SHORT CYCLING CAUSES.

Our photo (above) shows a water tank located correctly in that the pressure control switch (that gray box between the blue water tank and the green treatment tank) is close to the water tank.

The owners located this water pressure tank in a closet and insulated the closet walls with fiberglass. The result was condensation that soaked the fiberglass, leading to a local mold contamination problem.

Our photo at above left is another illustration of a leaky water pressure tank that is beyond repair.

 

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