Extend the Life of Your Water Heater with These 5 Easy Tips

You probably don’t think about your water heater too often, but it’s one of the most important appliances in your home. It’s a vital component, and you need to keep your water heater running at its highest efficiency. Water heaters typically have a lifespan of typically eight to twelve years. But without water heater maintenance, some can fail before then. Despite this, there are ways to extend the life of your water heater.

If you want to avoid paying out for a new water heater before you need to, check out these simple maintenance practices to help extend the life of your water heater.

Flush Your Water Heater Once Every Year

Flushing your water heater is an integral part of maintenance and safety. Here’s why…

Sediment consists of minerals, sand, and other materials dissolved in the water over time. This can start to build up in your water heater. However, if there’s a large amount of sediment, it can cause corrosion on the tank itself and other parts of the system. This can lead to leaks or even burst pipes if there are enough holes in them caused by corrosion or sediment buildup.

Image: Someone Looking To Extend The Life Of Their Water Heater By Preforming A Water Heater Flush
Flushing out your water heater helps remove these sediments so that they don’t build up into a thick layer on top of the heating element.

Change the Anode Rod

Anode rods are a crucial component of your water heater. They protect the rest of the tank from rusting and corrosion. Without anode rods, the inside of your tank would be completely rusted out after just a few years of use.

Anode rods are made from aluminum or magnesium, usually about six inches long and one inch wide. Most residential water heaters have a single anode rod in the middle of the tank.

Image: A Rusted And Corroded Anode Rod.
Anode rods are attached to the inside wall of your tank with bolts or screws extending through holes in your tank’s side. Anodes must be replaced if they become damaged, worn out, or corroded. If the anode isn’t working, your tank will start to rust.

Consider an Expansion Tank

An expansion tank is a device installed on your water heater to prevent it from overheating. When water heats up, it expands, and if your water heater is old or has a lot of hot water running through it, this expansion can cause damage to the tank. The purpose of an expansion tank is to allow for this expansion so that it doesn’t damage the tank.

A typical expansion tank looks like a small cylindrical container with a valve on top. It’s located near your water heater; you may have to open up your cabinet to find it. Inside the expansion tank, a rubber bladder expands when hot water flows through it. The bladder allows for expansion without causing damage to your water heater or any other appliances.

Test the Pressure-Relief Valve

A pressure release valve on a water heater is a safety device that prevents the tank from exploding in the event of an overpressure situation. The pressure relief valve is generally located at the top of the tank. It allows air to enter the tank when it reaches its set pressure. This removes some of the pressure and reduces the likelihood of an explosion.

The purpose of testing your water heater’s pressure release valve is to ensure it works correctly. If you don’t test it, you could end up in an unsafe situation.

Image: A Tool That Measures Water Pressure.
The manufacturer’s instructions will tell you what the pressure setting should be. If you don’t know the manufacturer, call a plumber and ask them what it should be set to.

Install a Water Softener or Whole House Filter

Water softeners are a great way to protect your water heater. They remove the hard minerals that can build up in the tank’s heating elements and cause corrosion over time, leading to leaking or bursting.

They have an ion exchange process to remove the hard minerals from water, replacing them with sodium ions. These are much smaller than the original minerals. The water softener also removes chlorine and other chemicals that can be found in your tap water.

Whole house water filters work by trapping impurities from your water supply. They cleanse the water before it enters your home, protecting you from dirt, sediment, chlorine, and other harmful contaminants that can cause health problems.

A whole house filter protects your hot water heater by filtering out sediment before it reaches it. By preventing sediment buildup, there’s less chance of costly repairs or replacements needed.

Keep your plumbing systems in good working order by booking a water heater tune-up with the Service Champions professionals.