One of the questions we hear a lot from customers is, “Is there anything I can do to make this water heater last as long as possible?” It’s smart to want to extend the life of a water heater! After all, replacing one is not inexpensive and when a water heater fails, you’re in for some unpleasantly cold showers.
In truth, there are a few things that really can help you wrench as much life out of your water heater as possible. Here are a few of our basic recommendations.
1. Drain and flush the water heater. This is especially important if you have hard water. That’s because sediment accumulates at the bottom of the tank, and over time, this sediment causes rust, which ultimately causes leaks. What’s more, as the sediment builds up, your heater has to work harder to keep the water hot. In other words, the sediments makes the water heater less efficient. This can not only shorten the life of the water heater, it increases your fuel costs.
We recommend completely flushing your tank once a year. It’s also a good idea to drain your tank once a quarter just long enough til the water coming out is clear. This will help keep the sediment from building up.
2. Replace the anode rod. The anode rod protects your tank and other components from rusting, Replacing the anode rod can significantly extend the life of your water heater.
The anode rod attracts minerals like calcium and prevents these minerals from being deposited on the tank. Over time, the anode rod becomes covered with minerals to the point that it’s no longer able to bond with additional minerals. It’s a good idea to inspect the adode rod yearly, and figure on replacing it after three to five years.
3. Check the pressure relief valve’s operation. Both gas and electric water heaters have a temperature pressure relief valve. This is a safety feature. The TPR valve as it is sometimes called, opens up if too much pressure builds in the tank. This prevents damage and even rupture and explosion.
If you get too much sediment around the valve, it can get clogged. Check the valve once every six months or so by first turning off the gas or electricity to the tank, and then by opening and closing the valve several times. When the valve is working properly, opening it will always cause water to flow out of the tank.
4. Decide to perform water heater maintenance on a regular basis. Here is what you can do and when to do it to keep your tank running for years and years.
• test the relief valve every six months
• drain the water heater heater every three months till it runs clear
• completely flush the tank annually
• replace the anode rod every 3 to 5 years. Inspect it annually
• check the burner every year
The Plumbing Source is ready to perform all your hot water maintenance to keep the unit running as efficiently as possible.
Call us today at 216-365-0600 to schedule an appointment. We’ll come out and service your water heater and give you an assessment of its condition. Remember, we’ve got an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and we’ve gotten the top award from Angie’s list for 18 years in a row!