Examine your water heater for any signs of leaking or damage during your routine maintenance checks. If any leaks are detected it is important to immediately act to fix those leaks, because a small leak can lead to things like flooding in your basement or damage to your property. Fixing a leak could be as easy as tightening up the pipes or it could be that a damaged pipe or part needs complete replacement. If the tank itself is cracked, then the water heater will need to be replaced.
The pressure-relief valve prevents a tank explosion. The water tank automatically releases pressure when it gets too high inside of the tank. It’s an important feature of the water heater that you want to make sure is functioning properly at all times. To test it, simply lift the lever, which is located on the side or top of the water heater. If no water comes out of the discharge pipe when you lift the lever, then the valve needs to be replaced.
Every 6-12 months, drain a few gallons of water out of your water heater into a bucket to examine the water. If the water is full of dirt and debris, then you should perform a full cleaning of the water heater. When debris builds up in the water heater tank, it can significantly cut down on the efficiency of your water heater and cause your energy bills to go up.
Water heaters have a metal rod called a Anode rod to prevent the water heater tank from rusting. The rode attracts all of the corrosion before it reaches the steel in the tank. Once a year, check the anode rod in the water heater for corrosion and if the rod is completely corroded then it is time to replace it with a new one. Anode rods tend to last around three to five years. On some models, it’s also possible to install a second anode rod to your water heater to extend its life as well.
If your water heater is attached to gas lines it is important to inspect. Any cracks or corrosion on these pipes will need to be repaired as soon as possible. If you suspect there is gas leaking from a gas line, take all of the necessary safety precautions, as this can be extremely dangerous.
High content of minerals in water is known as hard water. Hard water is much more likely to leave mineral deposits along the inside of the water heater tank and cut down its lifespan. Water softeners can be installed to reduce the build up of these deposits.
Do not crowd your water heater. There should be plenty of room around the water heater to allow you to easily inspect it for issues and perform maintenance tasks. It also needs room for air circulation, which will reduce the risk of fires. Be proactive about maintaining the water heater in your home rather than just assuming it will always function properly when you need it. This will not only save you money, but it will also save you from massive headaches in the future.