How long should a water tank last for

How long should a water tank last for

June 20, 2018 0 By Saidul Hoque

Water tanks generally last for a long time with a useful life in excess of 15 years on minimal maintenance.

Generally speaking, the useful lifespan of a tank is dependent on the following factors:

  1. Underground versus above ground positioning of the water tank
  2. Material of the water tank
  • Type of water tank

In this article, we’ll delve into how these factors affect the lifespan of a water tank as well as highlight specific examples to illustrate the aforementioned points.


Positioning of the water tanks

There are generally two positions for a water storage tank: underground as well as above ground. An underground tank may be defined as any tanks and connecting piping that holds at least 10% of its combined volume below ground. People who purchase underground tanks are typically looking to maximize their available land use since the tanks can be installed under the compound. They also allow one to store large amounts of water.

Above ground tanks are ideal for people trying to minimize the cost of installing a tank since these tanks don’t need excavation or backfilling costs. They are easily accessible and so can easily be repaired.

Generally speaking, underground water tanks last longer than above ground water tanks. One particular reason for this is the fact that above ground water tanks are more prone to damage from environmental factors. As an extreme example, in the case of a hurricane, an above ground tank will be damaged much more than an underground tank. Furthermore, above ground tanks are prone to other minor damages like children climbing atop them or even getting hit by an object.

water tanks


Material of the water tanks

Tanks may be manufactured from corrugated steel, plastic or concrete. This obviously has a bearing on the life of the tank as some materials are more durable than others. For the purposes of illustration, we will examine the longevity of a plastic water tank versus a concrete water tank. Typical plastic water tanks are made of high – density polyethylene. Concrete tanks are made of ferrocement or reinforced cement. Generally concrete water tanks are more durable than their counterpart plastic water tanks. However, there are a few factors that may affect the useful life of the tanks. Plastic water tanks may break down over time due to ultraviolet radiation. Concrete tanks, on the other hand, may be prone to rusting. Moreover, if a concrete water tank is not constructed properly, the tank may form cracks and leakages that may lead to permanent problems.

However, during natural disasters such as cyclones, empty or partially filled plastic water tanks may get dislocated or easily damaged. Concrete water tanks are naturally heavy in weight and as such are stable. Conversely, during earthquakes, plastic tanks are safer as they are generally light and have flexible connections. Concrete tanks may develop a crack during earthquakes, or even collapse completely if they are not designed properly.


Type of water tank

Tanks come in different shapes and sizes depending on one’s needs but the following table highlights different types of tanks with their respective useful lives:

Type of Tank Longevity Standard Materials Used
Corrugated Steel Tank Over 20 years Galvanized Steel
Welded Steel Tank Over 20 years Carbon Steel, various gauges
Fiberglass Tank Over 20 years Fiberglass
Poly Tank Over 20 years Polyethylene or polyurethane
Pillow/ Bladder Tank 3 months to 5 years Reinforced Polyvinyl Chloride or Elvaloy
Onion Tanks 3 months to 5 years Reinforced Polyvinyl Chloride or Elvaloy
Frame Tanks 3 months to 5 years Reinforced Polyvinyl Chloride or Elvaloy


Perhaps the most relevant tanks here for water storage would be the fiberglass water tanks, poly (plastic) water tanks, pillow water tanks, frame water tanks and the onion tanks.

Fiberglass water tanks are highly corrosion – resistant and are able to withstand extreme temperatures. Poly tanks are the typical plastic water tanks which we have already highlighted in the preceding section. Pillow water tanks, onion water tanks as well as frame water tanks are essentially collapsible water tanks which are easy to transport, store and deploy. These tanks are ideal for disaster response or relief efforts.


Bottom Line

The wide variety from which one could choose from offers tanks that may fit anyone’s needs from a possible short – term useful life of 3 months to a long – term useful life of over 25 years. So now that you know what affects the longevity of your tank, you should be able to make the appropriate choice.


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