Three Steps To Do-It-Yourself Water Heater Maintenance

Posted on: 7 December 2015

Although it's important to keep the contact information of a reliable repairman handy, you can save time and money if you know how to perform basic upkeep on appliances yourself. Your water heater is one appliance that can use occasional maintenance and care. Here are three steps to keeping up with your water heater's needs.

1. Flush the tank annually

If you don't flush out your water heater's tank on a regular basis, the sediment that builds up inside can knock around the inside of the chamber and wear away at the walls. This can eventually cause damage to the tank's material. To prevent this type of buildup, all you need to do is remember to schedule flushing the tank out. If you don't have confidence in your handyman skills you can have a maintenance professional perform this step for you, but it's a fairly simple maintenance step so you probably won't find it too intimidating. Write this task into your home maintenance schedule once per year. You can also flush the tank anytime you hear sediment inside (buildup can happen at different rates depending on what type of water you have). If you find yourself frequently needing to flush out the tank in between scheduled times, you may have extremely hard water.

2. Check the anode rod at the same time

Changing the anode rod regularly can help your water heater tank last for up to twice as long by protecting it from damage due to corrosion. Hopefully, this chance of a doubled water heater lifespan will be all the incentive that you need to perform the task on schedule, but in case you need further encouragement, it's a really easy job. The anode rod protects the insides of the tank by acting as an easier target for corrosion. Every time you're scheduled to flush the tank, also pull out the anode rod (after following safety precautions like switching off the power and releasing the pressure safely) and check its condition. It doesn't need to look pretty, and it will probably look like it's being slowly eaten away (because it is). But if large chunks are missing and it looks like it's disintegrating fast, it's time to insert a new one.

3. Test the pressure relief valve

The pressure relief valve, also known as the TPR (temperature-pressure relief), is perhaps the most crucial safety element on your water heater. Testing it for correct functioning is quick, easy, and only needs to be done at most twice per year. All you need to do is to make sure that it does release water when triggered and that it stops releasing water when appropriate. If it fails the test, you may choose to install a new valve yourself or you may choose to hire a professional.

These three maintenance steps are relatively quick and easy and can give you peace of mind that your water heater is taken care of and functioning properly. If you are having problems with your water heater, however, consider getting some advice from a professional like those at Miller & Humphrey Plumbing & Electric Inc.