On 19 Feb we suddenly found ourselves without any hot water (we have an electric 265L hot water tank that is heated "off peak" in the early hours each morning), so we had to call in a plumber to make repairs. I still thought of the tank as being fairly "new", as when we bought our house in 2003 it was only just out of the 5 year warranty period. The plumber replaced the heating element and thermostat ($85 each) and the repair bill was $300. At the time we decided not to buy a new water heater as the new tank would have been larger and would have cost extra for relocation, and I hadn't had a chance to compare models and costs. With a bit of luck the old tank might have lasted several more years.
Of course a week after the tank had been repaired the cover lifted off the base and expanded insulation started to poke out of the bottom - not a good sign as it often means that a leak has developed. Sure enough, this morning DW phoned me to say that the old tank had ruptured as was spraying out hot water. We decided on getting a slightly smaller tank (250L) that was able to fit in the same position as the old tank. The plumber also recommended replacing the old pressure relief and 'Dua' valve at the same time, so the total cost for the new water heater was $1363.50
The tank has a 5 year warranty, which means it will probably last 7-10 years before it has to be replaced. By that time off-peak electricity will probably have been phased out, so we'll be looking at either a heat pump or solar hot water system next time.
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