How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Jan 06 2023

You rely on your water heater for a lot of things in your day-to-day life. Picture how much less enjoyable your mornings would be without your warm shower!

Water heaters are often taken for granted, until something isn't working correctly. Fortunately, with the help of a plumbing professional, many times it can be repaired. However, eventually, you may need to replace it.

Many people don't realize when they need to replace their water heater because they don't know how long they typically last. So, how long do water heaters last on average?

We recently got this question...

"How can I prevent plumbing problems"

The short answer is you can't foresee what's going to happen. All you can do is mitigate the possibility.

The Best way to prevent plumbing problems is to have regular maintenance and inspections done on your prlumbing system. This includes checking for leaks, inspecting pipes and fixtures, and ensuring that all connections are secure. Additionally, it is important to be aware of any changes in water pressure or temperature, as these can indicate a problemt. Finally, it is important to be mindful of what goes down the drains, as certain items can cause clogs or other issues.

Read the blog below for more tips on doing your own inspection as well as basic tasks to complete if you're comfortable. Otherwise feel free to book our professional services online.

We're reliable, and will show up promptly at your appointment time. We guarantee that we'll be there within 15min +- of the appointment time. When onsite we're Efficient and experienced. We have been plumbing since the end of 2003 and have owned this company since 2010. You can expect cost-effective and trustworthy service from us. Feel free to view our google reviews to get an idea of what we're all about.

10 Plumbing maintenance tips for the new year.
January 4 2023

DIY - 10 Plumbing chores you can do in under 60 minutes.

~ Must do chores for any home owner!

The New Year is a time to reflect on the past and focus on setting new goals and objectives to reach in the coming year. It's also a time to review your financial goals, plans and make sure you're on track to reach them. Home owners often forget to budget for maintenance. But this list I'm creating for you now doesn't have to cost much if anything but a little bit of your time.

Please note* (disclaimer) Read all instructions from your fixtures and or equipment before performing any maintenance task. Read warning labels and if you have any questions consult the manufacture and or a professional. This is general guidance only and at your own risk. Gas, Hot water and Bio-hazards are to be considered dangerous activities if you so choose to complete your own home maintenance. Do so at your own risk.

The biggest part about this list is simply having a look around at least once a year but you likely should do it more often. Before I start on this list I highly recommend starting a home maintenance note book. Keep it with your household files.

Tools and supplies needed

  • Basic Hand tools

  • Bucket

  • Gloves

  • Washer hose/garden hose

  • Rags

  • Wet/DryVac

Lets get started on your 30-60 minute tour de domicile!

1. Check (Visually Inspect) all exposed pipes and fittings for any signs of corrosion, leaks, or cracks. Obviously you're not able to look behind walls but what you can see can tell you a lot about the rest of your plumbing system. If you have copper piping at home and one pipe is turning black make a mental note. Alternatively if you see white or green on a pipe joint you may have electrolysis or corrosion. If it looks like a stalactite don't touch! If it looks green or white like corrosion from electrolysis then give it a good clean wipe down.

*Task - make notes of what the piping looks like and keep an eye on it. If you have a stalactite then that's likely a leak and should be fixed.

2. Inspect all sink and tub drains for clogs or build up. This one is easy and we frequently do Video call's on this job as most home owners can do it but they might simply want more information on how to.

*Task - Run faucet and see if the drain is running free. If not (you likely already know which drains are slow) Get a wet/dry shop vac. Run water in to the drain then put the nozzle on the drain sucking up the water in the trap. Do this two or three times. If you see hair then pull and or cut it with a scissors (be careful with sharp objects) Using a shop vac for this task is the easiest way to clean out the traps. Note* Do not toss the water from the vacuum immediately. Look at it. Look for ear rings, necklaces etc large objects. Often these types of items will be left in the trap. This can be a messy job. If you don't like drains feel free to book us. Also of note. If you've cleaned out the trap yet the sink, shower or tub still is slow then you'll need a professional to auger further down the line.

3. Check your water heater for proper operation.

*Task - This is another job you can do your self. Grab a flashlight and look at the burner if there is debris you'll want to vacuum them out. Turn the gas valve off and get a small tip vacuum attachment. Vacuum out the burner plate area. When you're done re light the tank using the instructions provided. Over all. Does the water heater Turn on and off. Does the water heater re-light after it's been off.

4. Flush your water heater to remove any sediment or buildup.

*Task - Grab a small bucket and drain1-2 gallons out of the tank. The city pressure should push out any debris in the bottom of the tank. Take note of the water in the bucket. If it looks really dirty then your tank might need replacing soon. Put those notes in the maintenance book. (obviously be very careful of hot water. Use gloves, washer hose and a sizeable bucket. Have a wrench or screwdriver handy to shut off the valve quickly. )

5. Properly Cleaning a toilet. Yes this is a task for most. If you don't like this then have your partner get down and dirty!

*Task - Cleaning of a toilet might sound easy and it really is but there are some key parts of a standard toilet that have to be clean and free flowing so it continues to work well. The main part I'd like you to make note of is the "port hole" or the "jet hole" This is the main hole that rushes water in to the S-Trap of a toilet. If this hole is blocked then the toilet wont flush properly. In some cases I have to take a small screw driver and break open the uric acid crystals (sometimes called Struvite Crystals) that form a rock like substance across the hole. Caused from the saying (If it's yellow let it mellow if it's brown wash it down) The "urine" makes these crystals in the port hole over time and blocks the hole. This is the main cause of a toilet not flushing well. Anyways.. Use a small screw driver and break up any deposits that might be blocking the hole. Flush and break up more until it's fully clear. Also do this on all the little holes in the under side of the toilet while also using a stiff brush cleaning the porcelain to the bare enamel. Another task to do is take the lid off and make sure the tank is clean and free of debris in the bottom. Turn off the water then flush and suck out the remaining water with the WetDryVac.

6. Inspect the plumbing lines for any signs of leaks or blockages. This one could be harder with out experience but if you hear a gurgle after flushing , showering, running the sink etc. this can be a sign of a slow drain. Always Call 311 first if you have a back up in the basement. Let 311 know and they will send the city out to inspect. if the issue is roots they will let you know which side of the property they're at and usually get you going on the city's dime before they leave. If it's a city issue they will put you on the annual root's list and grind them up for free once or twice a year.

7. Replace or repair any corroded bath fixtures. What I mean is Handles , tub fillers escutcheon plates etc. If the escutcheon plate is loose this could be letting water inbehind your wall. Most of the time there is a seal behind it but sometimes you'll need to apply silicone caulking around it. *Note never put calking on the very bottom as there is a hole to let water out if some gets behind the plate.

8. Clean / Replace the showerheads. Everyone knows the vinegar trick and frankly it works! The only thing I don't like about it is, acidic acid can really wear out rubber prematurely. If your shower head is leaking from a edge or from the main distribution plate then it's likely time to replace. Always try to clean them first. remember not to over tighten a shower head. The rubber may be squished and not seat/seal properly. If a rubber seal leaves black on your skin it's time to replace. That goes with any plumbing fixture.

9. Check all toilet flappers and ball cocks to ensure proper operation. I'll have to get a picture for this on the blog. But when a toilet flapper is done it's usually swollen looking. It may not be perfectly flat or smooth anymore or might leave a black residue on your skin when you touch it. Replace as necessary

10. Valves. Make sure to turn on and off the valves in your home at least once a year. Take note if any are starting to leak or become too stiff to use without a wrench. It's time to replace them if this is the case. Ball valves are ideal for off/on use.

If you've gotten this far... Thank you for your time I hope there were some tips that will help you. If you need help and live in Calgary Alberta feel free to use the link below. We do video calls also and are able to help that way too!

*Note If you're unsure about any of the tasks I've talked about today please do some more research or ask for help from a professional. Working with Gas, Hot water and Bio-hazards can be dangerous. This information is to be used at your own risk where foreseeable risk is evident. Burns, flooding etc. If you attempt these tasks in your own home there is risk involved. Read instructions or labels on fixtures or equipment before performing any maintenance. Read all warnings thoroughly and call the manufacture if needed.

Hose BIB Winterization


Winterize your hose bib!

What is a hose bib? It's the faucet on the outside of your home that you connect your hose to water the grass or garden. Sometimes it's also called a silcock, spigot or irrigation valve.

Regardless of what you call the valve it's important in Calgary to winterize it every fall. We generally suggest doing it when the morning temp reaches 3C on a consistent basis. Currently 10/24/2022 there is snow on the ground. Yet it was a beautiful fall for the entire month of September and most of October. Jack frost came again and now it's time to get those hose bibs winterized.

There are multiple types of systems in homes these days. I'll go through the common ones i see in NW Calgary

  • Frost free

This is a type of valve that is usually about 12" long and has the actual shut off inside the home. Yet the handle and spigot is on the outside. These are meant to be the do nothing type of valve. However they are not entirely frost free. If installed properly they should drain towards the spigot that means they are angled to the outside not installed flat. However sometimes plumbers will install them flat or grading backwards because there is a drain valve or nipple on the inside of the home. Which ever way it's installed make sure it's well insulated (not with spray foam) and working properly. No dripping.

  • Standard (old school ) silcock or hose bib

The standard old school way was having a valve on the outside of the home then an access hatch on the inside of the home usually where the faucet exits the building. To winterize this system Shut off the inside valve and then open the outside valve. (leave wide open for the entire winter) The inside valve may have a bleed nipple. Make sure to get a small bucket handy and open the bleed valve and drain until no more water comes. Close up the bleed nipple again. Leaving the inside valve off for the winter while the outside valve is wide open.

  • Standard (New school) Silcock or hose bib

The standard new school method is having one or two bleed valves located in your furnace room or water room usually labeled. This location is much more practical for winterizing. Close off the valves usually labeled "hose bib" outside water connection etc, Then go outside and open the hose bibs wide open. Going back in to the furnace room or water room open the bleed nipple with a bucket handy. If no water comes you may need a compressor or pump or siphon tube to push water out. Once it seems reasonably clear then put the bleed nipple back on and leaving the inside valve off for the winter and outside valve Open for the winter.


I prefer the standard New school method and this is what I install during renovations. I do not like frost free unless there is a bleed valve in the furnace room. Even then I find that frost free hose bibs do not last as long as regular silcock type hose bibs. I also prefer rebuildable style valves over non-rebuildable type ones. I generally will choose Emco style valves with a fully removable core. This isn't overly necessary but this is my preference.

Find Your Go-To Plumbing Company in NW Calgary Alberta

March 09 2021

Having a go-to plumber advocate on your behalf when something goes wrong with your plumbing system is like calling a close friend when you need them most. Nothing helps more than having a trusted relationship with a local Calgary plumber like Champion Plumbing. You get to know each other in-and-out, and through this trusted relationship, you will both help each out in the long run. Here is how that happens:

  • They will help you when you desperately need it
    The most crucial point in having an emergency plumber is that when you are desperate, they will help you. So if you need your drains cleaned, a leak fixed or your plumbing system checked, they will go out of their way to help you. And that provides you with peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable company willing to help you when you need it.

  • Potentially cheaper services
    When you have a good relationship with a company, they will offer you cheaper deals for their services. They won’t offer it all the time, but if they feel it is not worth charging you, then they won’t. Basically, it’s a friend-rate deal. A little discount to help you get what you need.

They will deliver the best service for you

Naturally, when you have established a reliable relationship with people, they tend to go out of their way to help you. Yes, they will help you, but they will go that little bit further to help you with your case. The same applies to having an emergency plumber in Calgary that works for you: they will always deliver their best for you cause you have a strong relationship with them.