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Water Heater Maintenance 101

AHHHH!  a hot shower, nothing beats it!  However, not many people realize what brings that joy to our every day life.  Our water heater brings it to us, and it can shut it off just as easily if it is not cared for.   The worst feeling on a winter morning to get a cold shower.  It can also be very costly to have a plumber come in on a emergency situation because the water heater is out.  Following the routine maintenance described below will allow you water heater to achieve the highest efficiency and longest life.

after 3

new hot water tank

FACT:  a typical life span of a tank water heater is 8-12 years, but with routine maintenance a water heater can  greatly exceed life expectancy.

1)  Always keep thermostat below 120 degrees to avoid scalding and for energy efficiency.

2)  Once a year, empty the tank.  This will remove any sediment build up in the bottom and will make the unit operate quieter.

3)  Ensure there is 2 feet of clearance around the tank at all times, unless the manual specifies differently.

4)  Test the pressure relief valve once a year.  Open the valve quickly 3 times, emptying contents into a bucket.  Look for slow leaks after this test.

5)  When leaving town, put heater setting on “vacation”, saving energy, but keeping the pilot light lit.

6)  every 3-5 years have a professional examine entire tank, specifically the anode rod, which prevent water corrosion.


corrosion on water heater connections

7)  If you see any corrosion on your tank, take immediate action to rectify the corrosion or leaks will begin as it occurred in the picture above.  This water heater needed to be replaced as the insides were eaten away by the corrosion.

8)  proper venting is important for CO emissions and to keep the pilot light lit (on gas models).

9)  Never cover the venting area on the side of the tank.  This is usually done with an insulation blanket as people think that it will make their water heater more efficient.  However, covering these vents will suffocate your water tank and it will have to be replaced.  Only cover if the manual says to cover as most water heaters today are internally insulated.

If you need assist maintaining your water heater, or have other plumbing projects in your home, click the “contact” button to the right and let Screw Loose? LLC take care of the rest.


Thanks for your time, I hope this helps………………

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