How to Maintain Your Water Heater and Maximize its Life Span

Have you ever woken up in the dark, already running late but absolutely needing a shower, only to step in under what may as well be an arctic waterfall?

We hope not! Unfortunately, this is a common problem when your water heater experiences a critical failure. If you’re a busy homeowner, chances are you don’t think about your water heater at all when it’s working…but that’s a recipe for disaster and a good old-fashioned ice bath. That’s why we’ve compiled five tips for routine water heater maintenance below. Doing just a few of these simple things will drastically decrease the chances of your water heater kicking the bucket prematurely.

1. Test It To Make Sure It’s up to Snuff

Every water heater has what’s called a temperature-pressure-release, or TPR valve. This nifty contraption exists to make sure pressure inside the heater doesn’t spike to dangerous levels. If this happens, the valve opens and releases, relieving the pressure and preventing a nasty explosion. You can easily test this valve, and this test can tell you a lot about your water heater’s efficacy. All you have to do is lift the valve’s tab and let just a little water flow out, then rerelease the tab. If water continues to leak out after the valve has been closed, this might be a sign that your water heater needs to be replaced.

2. You Have Working Hours – and so Should Your Water Heater

You’re not expected to work at full capacity 24/7, and that’s good for you. But, believe it or not, not working at full capacity is good for your water heater too. By calibrating your water heater’s base temperature as needed instead of leaving it at max heat all the time, you’ll save on utility costs and extend the life of the equipment. In fact, a simple 10-degree decrease in the temperature could have you banking away as much as 5% on your energy cost! So, if you’re going on a trip, or have a pretty steady shower routine, try turning the water heater off or down to its lowest setting in the off-time.

3. Flush Out the Buildup

Over time, water heaters collect mineral sediment, called “scale,” at the bottom of the tank. If not cleared out periodically, scale can lead to corrosion and, ultimately, permanent damage to your water heater’s tank that can lead to a critical system failure. To flush out this sediment, drain the tank into an outside container and break up the scale by allowing new water to flow inside the tank. Rinse and repeat (literally) until you no longer see sediment in the drained water.

4. Safeguard Your Pipes

By insulating your water heater pipes, you’re helping the system regulate its temperature as well as preventing the elements from damaging your water heater via freezing, condensation, etc. Foam and fiberglass are two common types of pipe insulation, but this will depend on your water heater’s make and model.

5. Call in a Professional Every Once in a While

Ultimately, the safest way to protect your water heater and ensure you get as many years as you can out of it is to invest in annual maintenance. The highly trained professionals at Avid Plumbing offer maintenance services at competitive prices.

To learn more about our no-fuss maintenance plans, call us at 608-661-2843 or contact us online today!