How to Make Sure Your Water Heater Lasts

Water heaters are one of the most frequently used appliances in the average person’s home. They help you take your morning shower, wash your dishes, and keep your clothes clean. They give you the hot water you need for tea, the steam to help keep shirts wrinkle free, and so many other things, obvious and otherwise.

Long story short: your water heater gets used a lot, and with constant use comes wear, tear, and damage. Getting your water heater fixed when it’s broken can be costly, which is why your best option is to stay ahead of the tide and follow these tips on how to make sure your water heater lasts.

Flush It

One of the simplest ways to maintain the integrity of your water heater is to perform a regular flush. A flush clears out all the existing water in a heater and, with it, any mineral build-up in the tank. This is something you can do on your own if you’re particularly comfortable with your home’s plumbing. If you aren’t certain of your capabilities, however, you could also contact a local plumber to help with the process.

That said, here is a basic guide to performing an at-home flush:

  • Find your home’s fuse box and use it to turn off the electricity going to your water heater
  • Turn off your home’s water supply
  • Hook a garden hose up to your water tank’s drain valve
  • Bring the other end of the hose to a place where the water can drain out of it without causing damage  
  • Open the drain valve, letting all the water run out through the hose
  • Wait for all the water to drain from the tank
  • Remove the hose, give the outside of the tank a wipe down, and tightly close the valve
  • Turn both the power and water back on so your tank can fill back up
  • Enjoy the knowledge that your water heater is now just a little bit cleaner, better, and happier

Have It Checked

This is the easiest, most self-explanatory tip on the list – call a plumber and have them check things out once per year! They will be able to inspect the integrity of the tank and its joints, repair any leaks, adjust the thermostat when necessary, and perform the aforementioned flush when needed.

Install an Anode Rod

An anode rod is a special metal rod that can be placed within the tank of your water heater in order to extend its life. It attracts corrosive elements like mineral deposits in the water in order to prevent rust and help keep the glass lining on the inside of the tank from cracking.

Check the Temperature

Temperature regulation is integral to the lasting life of your home’s water heater. If you have a gas unit, it’s imperative to check your gas valve once every couple months to ensure that it is set to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not all valves have the actual temperature numbers written on them, but setting it about 25% past where it says ‘warm’ hits this temperature just right.

The process is a little different for electric tanks. If you have an electric tank, you’ll need to remove the top and bottom thermostat covers. Use a screwdriver to adjust the bottom thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If either of these processes are intimidating to you, that’s ok! You can always have a professional plumbing technician do this for you during regular maintenance.

Paying attention to these four major tips can make significantly increase the life of your water heater and give you peace of mind knowing that you’ll never have to suffer the rude awakening of a cold shower.

If you want to get a head start on regular maintenance, the punctual plumbers at Ben Franklin Plumbing are always around to give you the support you need.