Tips for Effective Water Heater Maintenance

When was your last check-up on the water heater?

When it comes to water heater maintenance, there are a few simple tactics that can both prolong your unit\’s life and increase its efficiency. The first of which is adding insulation to the outside of the tank, as this will help reduce both its temperature loss and heat gain. And then, depending on how often you use your water heater (daily or less), either check the anode rod once per year, or flush out your tank once per year.

Like any functioning appliance, your water heater will require occasional maintenance. Adding insulation improves efficiency and reduces heat loss by up  to 45 percent  – saving  money on  water heating  costs. Keeping tabs on the sediment in the tank also boosts efficiency, prolongs its lifespan, and prevents coal corrosion inside. Replace the old anode rod every 5 years; these inexpensive components are far cheaper to replace than a new heater.

Follow these hot water heater maintenance tips to help keep your hot water from being costly.

Test the TPR Valve

When it comes to water heater maintenance, check for broken anode rods. Shut off the power and the cold-water supply valve, place a bucket under the pipe connected to the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve on the top or side of the tank, and open the tab. If water keeps coming out, drain the tank partway and unscrew the old valve with a pipe wrench before installing a new one.

Check the Anode Rod

  • Clean debris from heating source and/or lower the flames, if using gas
  • Put a hose to the tank’s drain cock and let out a few gallons of water;

Drain the Tank and Wash Out Sediment

One smart way to ensure water heater maintenance is to open the cold-water supply valve and drain the remaining water in the tank. Stir up sediment on the bottom of tank by briefly opening a drain cock, then close it and repeat until clean water comes from the hose. 

Adjust the Temperature

To help you save on energy, keep your water heater at 120 degrees and taken 5 precautions before leaving your home for more than three days. You can turn the gas off or adjust your thermostat to its lowest setting to cut down electricity and gas use by up to 50%. Much like insulation for pipes, insulation for water heating will lower utility bills and reduce the real estate footprint for your home.

Insulate the Pipes

For water heater maintenance tips, invest in some self-sticking 3/8-inch-thick foam insulation pipe that matches the pipes’ diameter.

Insulate cold water pipes to prevent summer condensation. If the pipes are close to the furnace, cover them with 1 inch thick of faced fiberglass pipe wrap to prevent heat from escaping.