Some would say that the true testament to being civilized is having indoor plumbing and having hot water at your disposal. Hot water heaters can be finicky appliances. If something goes wrong with your hot water heater, it can be a pain to repair. Having to totally replace your hot water heater is a whole other problem.
You can prevent major problems and extend the life of your hot water heater with one simple concept: Maintenance.
Proper maintenance is the key to extending the life of your hot water heater. Following these regular maintenance steps:
Drain and Flush Your Water Heater
One of the most common issues with hot water heaters that causes a number of different issues, and ultimately the death of your appliance, is calcium build up.
Especially if you have hard water, minerals can build up in your hot water tank and cause blockages and corrosion. It is a good idea to drain your hot water heater regularly. Water heaters should be drained at least once per year, or even up to four times a year, depending on the condition of your water.
Draining your water heater is not a particularly difficult task. Remember to turn off the pilot light to the water heater or the electricity, depending how your water heater is powered. Then, turn off your cold water intake and place a bucket under the pressure relief valve to avoid mess.
Run a hose from the water heater to an outdoor area for draining. Then, turn on all the hot water faucets in your house and release the water heater drain valve. Once all the water has completely drained, you can then turn the water supply on in short bursts to loosen any sediment. Keep the water running until it runs clear and free of sediment.
Replace The Anode
There is a bar that runs down the middle of your hot water heater tank. This bar is called the “anode” and it is responsible for catching mineral build up and preventing corrosion. The anode should be replaced every so often, although the rate at which it needs to be replaced depends on your thoughts and water heater. Some experts recommend replacing the anode as often as every six months, others up to every two years.
How often you replace the anode will likely depend on the condition of your water. For example, if you have very hard water you will most likely want to change the anode more often.
Replacing the anode is another task that can be done yourself, but the method of doing so may vary from brand to brand or type of water heater. It might be best to ask your service provider or a plumber for help with this task. Or, watch this video to learn how to change your anode rod yourself:
The life of your hot water heater can be greatly improved with proper maintenance. At least once a year, simply drain and flush your tank to check for sediment and replace the anode bar. These simple maintenance tasks can extend the life of your hot water heater and keep those hot morning showers working smoothly.