Two hot water heaters beside each other.

When you stop to think about it, having on-demand access to hot water is pretty incredible. No matter what time you choose to take a shower during the day, you can rest assured that your shower will be nice and comfortable.

That modern luxury is made possible by an appliance known as the water heater. Considering the convenient services it provides, it would be in our best interest to keep our water heaters in working order. You never want to be in a situation where you are rushing through your morning routine only to discover that the water heater is malfunctioning – staying on top of its maintenance is critical. 

Electric and Gas Water Heater Maintenance Checklist

There are certain things you absolutely must do to keep your water heater in consistent working order. Let’s go in-depth on those critical steps.

Test the Water Heater’s Pressure Relief Valve

Checking your water heater’s pressure relief valve is a good place to start if you’re conducting general maintenance.

You must be certain that the pressure relief valve is working as intended. If it is not functioning properly, your water heater could sustain serious damage. It may even blow up if it has accumulated too much pressure.

The process of checking your water heater’s pressure relief valve is fairly simple.

First, you want to turn off the water heater. After that, grab a container of some kind and position it next to the valve.

With the container in place, you can now pull the trip lever on the pressure relief valve.

If the pressure relief valve is still in good condition, you should see water pour into the container and vapor escape into the air. If you don’t see water or vapor, then the valve is likely damaged or blocked. Replace it as soon as you can.

Check the Status of the Anode Rod

plumber checking a water heater

The anode rod is a protected steel wire surrounded by either aluminum, magnesium, or zinc that is positioned inside your water heater’s tank. The main purpose of the anode rod is to slow down tank corrosion. It does this by attracting any sediment or corrosive materials found into the water onto the rod and not the walls of your tank. 

Of course, the anode rod itself is also susceptible to deterioration. You will need to replace it eventually or else it could cause serious problems with your water heater.

Your local plumber can check to see how your anode rod is currently doing. Expect your plumber to release the pressure in the tank so they can open the drain valve. After opening the drain valve, they will inspect the water it releases.

The presence of rust in water is an indicator that there’s something wrong with the anode rod. If no rust is found, your plumber will check on the anode rod more closely to see how long it has left.

Generally speaking, anode rods should be replaced after three to five years of service. Start checking up on the anode rod inside your water heater if you’re approaching the three-year mark.

Flush Your Water Heater’s Tank

Sediment will accumulate inside your water heater’s tank over time. Aside from taking up space, the presence of sediment inside the tank is problematic because of its effect on the water heater’s efficiency.

The sediment may cause the water in the tank to run cold faster. Your water heater may also need more electricity or fuel to warm up the water for your shower and other applications.

Installing a tankless water heater helps you avoid the sediment issue. If that’s not an option for you at the moment, you can instead hire a plumber to flush your tank.

Flushing the tank involves shutting off the power and water supply. After that, the plumber will connect a hose to the drain valve to expel the water inside. The cold water supply may also be opened so the sediment can move more freely.

Your plumber will stop flushing the tank when the water runs clear.

Regularly flushing your water heater’s tank is important. Flushing after every six months is a good idea. Consider flushing more often if you live in an area with hard water.

Consult with your plumber if you need more information about flushing your water heater’s tank.

Look for Leaks Around Your Water Heater

tankeless hot water heater in an attic

As with most appliances required to hold water, the heater in your attic  may also spring leaks. The connections it relies on will age and they may start to leak water.

Leaks should always be taken seriously. Remember that leaks are issues not just for your water heater — your home may also sustain significant damage if the leaks remain unaddressed.

Looking for water heater leaks should be included in your maintenance checklist.

The surroundings of your water heater can tip you off to potential problems. Examine the floor or the walls for any unusual growths. The presence of mold and/or mildew will tell you that there is a leak nearby.

Take action immediately if you see mold and/or mildew because that can indicate that your water heater has been leaking for a while.

Homeowners should also keep an eye out for any stains near their water heater. Dark brown stains are early signs of leaks. You should take a closer look at your water heater as soon as you see them.

Failing to notice or ignoring these signs of leakage may eventually lead to your floors and walls cracking or buckling. Hopefully, you will be able to do something about your water heater issues before things get to that point.

Make leak inspection a habit of yours so you can catch potential issues before they cause lasting damage. If you need repairs done, remember to call a plumber.

The Plumbing Company You Can Trust

Reach out to us at Bewley Plumbing if you need a professional to conduct maintenance work on your water heater. We’ve helped numerous clients in Collin County and Denton County and we know that we can resolve your plumbing-related problems as well!