Replacing a Water Storage Tank

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Replacing a water tank is a large undertaking that thankfully you will not have to do very often. The tank shown in these photos is over twenty years old and has begun to rupture due to faulty installation. When the tank was first installed the plumber failed to adequately support the tank and the weight of water it contains. A 100 litre tank will hold just over 100Kg of water, equivalent to 220lbs excluding the weight of the tank. You will see here that the tank was supported on two strips of wood that began to cut into the base of the tank. When the tank was removed the strips of wood turned out to be two pieces of skirting board.

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Water tank showing signs of leakage Water escaping through tank seams

Water tank showing signs of leakage

Water escaping through tank seams

Faulty inlet and blocked overflow Lack of support is rupturing tank

Faulty inlet and blocked overflow

Lack of support is rupturing tank

Obtaining the correct replacement tank

In these photos you will notice that the tank has changed from brown to white. The first photos were taken when we called at the property to provide a quote. When we returned to install the new tank the householder had painted the tank white to improve its appearance. The new paint job did not stop water leaking out from the seams of the tank.

When selecting a replacement tank often it is not a requirement to choose a tank from the same manufacturer that produced the original, providing the new tank functions in the same way as the old. On this occasion, due to space restrictions and other issues with a very old central heating system that the householder did not wish to address, we selected the updated version of the same tank. This was more expensive to purchase but saved money in the long run.

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

Old water tank with old connections removed

Cutting the old pipework

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

Removing the old pipes

The burnt out immersion heater element

Isolating the water supply and draining down

With all jobs of this nature it is important to isolate the supply and drain the tank. Any issues with a main stop tap passing water will need to be corrected before work can begin. The view inside the tank highlights further problems. The immersion heater element had burnt out long ago. The inside of the element can be seen outside of the casing; remarkably this circuit was still connected to the supply. Also inside this water tank the inlet and float valve can be seen in the cold section and the internal expansion tank, the small cylindrical tank towards the top that holds expansion water from the radiators is visible

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

View inside the water tank

The tank cupboard

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

Building a new support

The new water tank

Pipework and installation

To avoid similar problems in the future a solid platform for the tank was constructed out of floorboards before the new tank was put into place. As is often the case with replacement water tanks the inlets and outlets are not in the same position as the old tank and new copper pipe has to be connected.

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

Inlet and overflow connections

Making new pipework

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

Soldering the new water connections

Fitting the pipes

Commissioning the new water tank

It is a requirement of the water regulations that pipework is flushed through so that deposits from solder work and other debris is removed before being put into service to maintain the quality of water. The plumber will also check that all joints are water tight and that the tank is primed and functioning correctly before signing the job off.

If a heating system has been drained an inhibitor should be added to the water that circulates through the radiators to prevent corrosion and the generation of air in the heating system. The last photo on this page shows how deposits, mainly corrosion from inside radiators, can build up on the inside of pipes and reduce their internal size and therefore reducing the efficiency of the system – similar to cholesterol in arteries.

Water tank showing signs of leakage Water tank showing signs of leakage

Tank with thermostat ready for new immersion heater

Deposits on wall of 15mm pipe

Continuing maintenance

A properly installed water tank requires minimal maintenance, but it is worth remembering a few points that the householder should undertake. The gate valves fitted to the tank and adjacent pipework should be opened and closed at least once per year to prevent sticking. Water levels should be checked on vented systems and finally an occasional visual check is recommended, to check for signs of aging.

 

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