6 Easy Steps to Maintain a Water Heater


A lot of people overlook the importance in maintaining a water heater. When you put thought into it, you sometimes take things that are essential for granted. A water heater works hard for you by providing you hot water for baths, kitchen use and basically makes your home comfortable. Parroting the over used quote, prevention is better than cure, show your water heater some love by observing simple yet effective ways to maintain them.

    1. Adjust.

Lower your thermostat to 120 degrees and remember that for ever lowered 10 degrees, you save up to 5% of energy.

    2. Mind the clearance.

Keep at least a clearance of 2 feet on the sides of your machine. Keeping it at a distance will help in regulating the external temperature of the machine preventing it from overheating.

    3. Drain the tank.

Draining the tank at least 6 times a year or once every 2 months will improve machine efficiency and longevity. Turn off cold water supply and attach a garden hose to its drain valve to dump everything into a bucket. Continue doing this until the water clears. If in a few tries the water remains cloudy, open water supply valve and stir the sediments so it would be flashed out with the water. This helps machine to operate quietly.

    4. Test temperature-pressure relief valve.

Discharge at two to three times annually. Keep a close eye on leaky valves and damaged wires while following the testing.

    5. Examine sacrificial anode rod.

An anode rod is a magnesium or alloy rod place in order to protect the exposed steel within the tank through electrolytic reaction. Replace this once every 3 years by loosening hex head screw to remove. Instances when you can replace rod is when:

  • 6 inches or more of steel is exposed.
  • There is only 1 to 2 inches left of the rod.
  • The rod is coated heavily with calcium.

Note: Remember that this is a sacrificial anode rod and you are expected to replace it every now and then. Its job is to go as it protects the heater and helps it to work efficiently. It is also cheaper by a mile to replace the anode rod than to replace the whole unit when it stops working due to neglect on your part.

    6. Insulate older units.

Insulate cold and hot water pipes. Depending on the brand and the unit you have, check the manual that comes with the unit for instruction. Note that the newer units are already insulated and that you can totally ignore this step.

You are now ready to take care of your water heating machine and stretch its longevity by a few more years.

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