Regular maintenance will help extend the lifetime of your water heater. An average water heater lasts for about a decade or more. You will be surprised how some basic maintenance pays off.
- Clean Your Tank Regularly
Drain your water heater regularly to avoid sediments building up.
How can the sediment build up affect your water heater:
- Drips and clogs
- Slows down heat transfer and over heats the tank bottom
- Overheating can weaken the steel and damages the glass lining
- Corrodes the tank and eventually causes leaks
That is why it’s so important to drain the tank a couple times a year. This is relatively easy to do. Here are the steps:
Drain and flush your Water Heater Tank
Tools you’ll need:
- Five gallon bucket
- Channel lock
- Turn gas to “pilot” setting. Or the red knob.
- Find the shut off valve at the top of the water heater. It should be located near the water heater on the cold water line. Shut it off.
- Open the hot water side on your faucet to allow air into the water heater.
- Find the drain valve on the bottom – connect the hose to the drain valve. Use channel lock to secure it.
- Bring hose outside and stick it in a big bucket.
- Open drain valve by using a screwdriver. You’ll hear some movement.
- If you have an older style pressure relief valve, you can pop the relief valve and let the air pressure in.
- Once finished, put the lever down and tap it few times with a tool to ensure.
- Let the tank drain completely in the bucket. This will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.
- Open the main valve of the water heater, let it cycle through. Let it run for five minutes.
- Close the drain valve. Disconnect hose with the channel lock. Check the connection multiple times.
- Turn the water heater shut off valve back on.
- Turn all your plumbing fixtures on the hot water side to blow any air out.
- Turn on the flame – turn from middle position to the left. You’ll hear the fire go on. If you have an electric water heater, plug it in.
2. Check Anode Rods
Anode rods work to release ions that prevent the tank from rusting. It runs down the middle of the tank to catch mineral build up to prevent corrosion.
After your water heater is about three years old, start checking the rod once a year to ensure the health of your water heater.
If the rod has been depleted, the inside of the water tank will begin to rust, then leak.
You can use a wrench to loosen the rods from the top of the tank to check them.
3. Stay Proactive
On gas water heaters, make sure the thermal coupling gets replaced every now and then.
Thermal coupling keeps the pilot light lit.
The gas valve, which heats the tank, may need to be replaced as well.
On electric water heaters, changing the element, which heats the entire tank, may be required.