Your water heater is a modern-day convenience. We don’t always think about it like that or having to live without them until something goes wrong. Many of us have experienced when a water heater has died – and it’s not fun. Cold showers or water leaks are not welcomed surprises.
Water heaters last an average of 10 years and like any appliance, they require a little maintenance to keep working efficiently. To get the most out of your water heater it’s a good idea to do some check-ins. Once a year, schedule time to either hire someone to complete maintenance or make plans to do it yourself. Also, be sure to consult the owner’s manual that came with the water heater so that you can follow the manufacturer’s recommended steps and to safely perform the maintenance. In addition, hire a licensed plumber or pipe fitter to aide in any maintenance if you are unsure how to safely accomplish these tasks.
A visual inspection is something you can do yourself. This helps to identify any issues on the exterior such as loose screws, nuts, bolts, and gaskets. The goal with the visual inspection is to see what is worn and may need replacing and check for signs of rust or corrosion.
General Maintenance Tips to Consider:
- Have the tank drained once or twice a year. During this process, flush the tank a couple of times to make sure all the sediment and debris is cleared out of the tank.
- Besides just cleaning the water, the anode rod should be checked once a year. The purpose of this rod is to attract all the debris and sediment. This rod typically needs replacing every three to five years.
- If your water heater has a temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve), add checking the T&P valve to your list to make sure it is in proper working order. This is important to check as pressure can build up in the tank. As mentioned above, be sure to consult the owner’s manual in order to safely perform this task. Not all water heaters have a T&P valve.
If your water heater is gas, it will have this valve. Some electric water heaters also have this.
- If you have a tankless water heater, make sure to descale your water heater to rid the sediment and debris. Make sure the tankless heater is set appropriately and not too high. Doing this will decrease the buildup.
Signs your water heater may need maintenance:
- low water pressure
- hear clicking or if your water is rusty
Keeping a mindful eye on your water heater at least once a year will clue you into when it is nearing the end of its life span and help to keep it working efficiently. Doing this should help prevent any of those unwanted surprises.