It’s hard to imagine life without a hot water heater, even for a day. Yet most people rarely think about inspecting or maintaining this appliance until their warm shower turns cold or it stops functioning properly.
Generally, a properly installed, operated, and serviced hot water heater can last about 10 years. But there are many other factors that affect the lifespan, such as the mineral density in your water, quality of the appliance, having enough water in the unit, and electricity irregularities, among others.
Here are some tips to help maintain your water heater yourself and minimize damage:
- Flush The Water In Your Water Heater
- Check The Temperature And Pressure Relief Valve At Least Once A Year
Heated water expands, causing pressure to build up inside the water tank. To release the excess pressure, hot water tanks have a safety feature known as a pressure relief valve. Inspect this valve at least once a year to ensure that it is working properly.
- Drain The Tank Completely When Not In Use
When there’s no one in your seasonal property, or when going on a long vacation, it is recommended that you turn off the power supply and drain the water heater. This will prevent flooding while you’re away.
- Inspect The Pipes
If there’s no hot water, or if the supply seems to be lower than usual, check the level of water in the tank and whether the supply line if functioning properly. Also check the water piping for leaks or signs of damage and fix any problems promptly.
- Inspect The Anode Rod
Anode rods are made from steel wire with a magnesium or aluminium coating to prevent rusting. Inspect the coating regularly, or at least twice a year, and change the anode rods if the steel wire is showing.
- Inspect The Dip Tube
Some water heaters have dip tubes to direct incoming cold water to the base of the heater. If your hot water heater has one, inspect is every six months or so for failure or corrosion. The dip tube should be 6 to 8 inches shorter than tank to deliver cold water to the right depth. If it’s shorter, your water may not run hot enough, and should be replaced.
Like with every other appliance that works hard in your home, proper care and scheduled maintenance can help to reduce the risk of costly emergency repairs. Moreover, you can avoid shocking moments of ice-cold water, make your hot water heater more efficient, reduce energy costs, extend its life, and avoid early replacement, all without getting a professional involved.
Drain and flush all the water in your water heater twice a year to wash out and prevent sediment buildup in the tank. This will help to prolong the life of the heating element and the tank itself. Start by turning off the heating element and water inlet before draining the tank.