Water Heater Maintenance


Unlike your children, every water heater comes with a full set of instructions as to maintenance and upkeep. Unfortunately, most people toss water heater maintenance aside and consider it unneeded. Nothing could be further from the truth. Store the manual near the heater and always follow the safety water heater maintenance instructions.

Water heater manufacturers routinely state that their product will have a useful life of 15 or 20 years. This fact is true if water heater maintenance is regularly and properly performed. Water heater maintenance is simple and easily accomplished. However, if your uncomfortable doing these three tasks yourself then call your local plumbing company to do them for you. Here’s the list.

Remove Sediment

Corrosion and other sediments build up on the bottom of the water heater tank. It is necessary to drain and flush the tank once a year to remove this debris. It’s a fairly simple process. Basically you turn off the electricity or gas and the water to the unit, attach a hose and completely drain the tank. Then, you flush out the tank with fresh water until the water runs clear.

Check the “Sacrificial” Anode

This device is the source of some of the debris mentioned above. Due to its chemical composition, it is designed to corrode before the actual water tank. The process works very well but the anode eventually wears out. It must be physically examined and occasionally changed. The anode is attached by a large hex nut on the top of the heater. Loosen this nut. Remove the anode and replace with a new one.

Lower Your Water Temperature by Ten Degrees

The chemical processes that cause corrosion of the sacrificial anode and the tank are hastened by heat. Lowering the water temperature to 110 degrees should still give you a comfortable shower and lessen your maintenance concerns. You’ll need to follow the instructions in the manual to accomplish this task.

When you are done with these three tasks, be sure that the drain spigot is closed. Then turn the water and the electricity or gas back on and, in the case of gas heaters, relight the pilot light. Performing this water heater maintenance will have your appliance functioning more efficiently, lasting longer and costing less to operate.