If you a have a water heater in your home, it needs regular maintenance. Not many people realize that the longevity and the efficiency of a water heater depend primarily on their actions. In fact, the detailed maintenance schedule is usually described in the manual. However, owners often overlook these instructions.

Eventually, the lack of maintenance leads to breakdowns, downtime, and extra expenses. Preventing water heater problems is easy. We asked Tampa appliance repair experts from Hartman's to share a few tips.

1. Inspect the Pressure Relief Valve 

Too much pressure can cause the water heater to explode. That’s why they come with a special safety valve, which releases the pressure when too much of it builds up. The proper function of this pressure relief valve is vital to the homeowner’s safety. It should be inspected on a regular basis.

  • Shut off the power.
  • Turn off the cold water supply valve.
  • Place a bucket under the pressure relief valve.
  • Lift the valve tab to release water.

The water should stop running. In case it continues to flow, you need to drain the tank and replace the valve.

2. Flush the Water Heater Annually

The more the water heater works, the more dirt, sediment, calcium, iron, and other contaminants settle on the bottom of the tank. Depending on the tap water quality, these particles can build up very quickly, reducing the water heater efficiency.

A simple way to reduce the amount of collected sediment is to flush the water heater. It’s recommended to do the flushing at least once a year.

  • Turn the water heater off as well as power or gas supply.
  • Connect a garden hose to the drainage opening and place it in a bucket or a shower drain.
  • Leave the water supply to the heater on to help break up the sediment.
  • Open the drainage spigot and start flushing the tank.
  • Drain the tank until pieces of sediment stop coming out.
  • Turn off the water drain at the base of the tank.
  • Close the pressure release valve.
  • Turn the water on to fill the tank.
  • Turn the gas or circuit breaker back on.

Be careful when flushing the tank. The water is hot. You can do water heater flushing on your own. However, it requires certain precautions. If you aren’t sure you can do the flushing without assistance, ask for professional help.

3. Inspect and Replace The Anode Rod

Your water heater has an anode rode. It protects the exposed steel of the water heater when the tank is filled. The rod protects the steel from rust. With time, it becomes coated with calcium carbonate. When this happens, it must be replaced.

  • Connect a garden hose to the drain valve.
  • Open the pressure release valve and drain it.
  • Allow several gallons of water to drain out.
  • Close the drain valve.
  • Look for the anode rode hex head, which is located under the top plate or on top of the hater.
  • Use a 1 1/16’’ socket to unscrew the rode.
  • Examine the rode (in case it’s less than half an inch thick or covered with sediment, remove it).
  • Buy and install a new rod, if needed.

4. Monitor the Efficiency

Monitor the energy efficiency of the heater on a monthly basis. As soon as you notice that your energy bills go up (in case you have an electric heater) or that your gas bills increase (for gas heaters), it’s time to make the full inspection of your water heating equipment.

If you maintain the water heater on a regular basis, it’s bound to serve you for many years without frustrating downtime and costly repairs.

Published by Tranding Stories