How to Maintain Your Water Heater
Having a properly functioning water heater is essential for household convenience and comfort. Performing regular maintenance keeps your water heater operating efficiently and extends its lifespan. This in-depth guide covers key maintenance tips for gas, electric, and other common water heater types.
Check the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valves
Temperature and pressure relief valves are critical safety components on all water heater tanks. They prevent excessive internal pressure and heat buildup.
To test them:
- Turn off the power supply to the water heater.
- Place a bucket under the discharge pipe from the relief valve.
- Lift the lever on the valve to let water flow into the bucket.
- If water flows freely, the valves are working. If not, they may need replacing.
Flush Sediment from the Tank
Mineral deposits and sediment accumulating in the tank bottom reduce heating efficiency over time. Flushing the tank helps remove this buildup.
- Shut off the power and cold water inlet valve.
- Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the tank’s bottom.
- Drain the water outside or into a floor drain until it runs clear.
- Close the drain valve and turn on cold water to refill the tank.
Inspect and Replace the Anode Rod
The anode rod is a metal rod inside the tank that corrodes sacrificially to prevent corrosion of the tank itself. It needs replacing when worn out.
- Shut off power and water to the heater.
- Locate and remove the anode rod, often on the top of the tank.
- If it’s less than half an inch thick or very corroded, replacement is recommended.
Adjust the Water Temperature
Keeping your water heater’s temperature at 120°F (49°C) is optimal for safety and efficiency. This minimises scalding risk and reduces energy costs.
Use the thermostat to set it to 49°C. Consider turning it lower when away.
Schedule Professional Maintenance
For comprehensive servicing, have a professional plumber perform maintenance. They can thoroughly inspect all components and ensure optimal operation.
Annual professional maintenance is recommended for heaters over 3 years old.
With simple regular maintenance like flushing, anode rod replacement, and temperature adjustment, your water heater can deliver reliable hot water for many years.
If your water heater is dated or malfunctioning, contact a professional like The Plumbing Life Saver for water heater repairs or installation. We guarantee same-day hot water with new efficient systems!