Water Heater Maintenance

Water Heaters are useful, but at the same time they are incredibly expensive contraptions. Let’s take a little look at the problems that this can avoid.

​The water heater is an appliance that many people probably forget is even in their house. It doesn’t require too much effort or attention on a regular basis to keep it running well but this doesn’t mean that you should ignore it all together. There are certain steps that everyone should take to make sure that their water heater continues to perform well. Keeping track of the condition of your water heater and each of its parts will help you maintain your current water heater and avoid having to buy an entirely new unit anytime too soon. Refer to the following guidelines when considering how to maintain your hot water heater.

Maintenance Schedule

Every month or two you should do a visual check of your water heater and all of the parts on it. This will assure that if there is any leaks or problems that have started to become issues for the quality of your water heater you will know about it and be able to take actions to fix them before they become a bigger problem. If you never even look to check how your water heater is doing, you may not notice there is anything wrong until major damage has been caused to your home and this could cost you a lot of money.

Every year or so it is recommended that you flush your water heater out through the heater’s drain valve. While a full flush works best it is possible to do a mini-flush as well. Since the main point of doing this is to flush out sediment that has accumulated at the bottom of the tank, flushing out just half of the tank will get rid of most of the sediment and improve the lifespan of your water heater.

Also once a year it is a good idea to remove and examine the anode rod, after your water heater is a few years old. It is possible that it could be getting damaged over time and may need to be replaced.

Step by step instructions for flushing the sediment from a water heater.

Flushing Your Water Heater

Flushing your tank is very important for your water heater to continue to work correctly. Sediment that builds in the tank naturally over time can cause your tank to not work properly if you don’t flush out these sediments by draining the water from your tank. Follow these steps in order to flush your tank effectively.

The first thing you should do is turn the water supply off at the point where cold water is pumped into the water heater. There is a typically simple and easy to find valve for this.

After that, you are going to cut the power supply for the hot water heater. This is where you need to know what type of tankless water heater you have.

If you have an electric water heater, you should flip the switch on the circuit breaker box to cut off the electric power supply from reaching the water heater unit. If you have a gas water heater, there should be a switch on the water heater itself that you switch off in order to turn the power supply off. Or you may also flip a gas heater’s thermostat setting to “pilot” and this should turn off all gas from being pumped to the tank.

At this point you are going to turn on a water outlet somewhere in your house nearby in order to drain as much of the very hot water out of the tank as possible. You will leave this water running during the entire time that you are draining the tank. Then you are going to attach a typical garden water hose to the water tank’s drain valve. This is how you will drain all of the water out of your tank. You will need to have a floor drain nearby or a way to safely drain out all of the water in your tank if you are doing a full flush. If you are doing a half flush, depending on the size of your tank, you may be able to drain the water into a large bucket.

After you have drained enough water from your tank, you may close the drain valve and refill the tank so that it is full again and then turn the power supply and water back on.

Replacing The Anode Rod
The anode rod is what keeps your hot water heater from rusting out and when this rod is no longer working correctly, your entire water heater is at risk of breaking down. When you are doing your regular flush of your tank mentioned above it would be a good time to check the condition of your anode rod, as many of the first steps for replacing the rod are the same as flushing the tank. As the power supply should be turned off, a hot water source in your house should be running, and you will need to drain a few gallons of water from your tank before taking the anode rod out.

You will also need an impact wrench to free it loose from your water heater to replace it. If you don’t have one of these on hand, one will cost you about twenty dollars at the store. Once you have taken the anode rod out you should inspect it to see if you even need to replace it yet. If there is still a lot of material left on the rod then you might not need to replace it yet but since the anode rod is so important and meant as a sort of line of security for your water heater, if you have the funds, you may want to just go ahead and replace to be safe. It is recommended that the anode rod be replaced on a schedule of every three years at the least, but depending on the quality of water your city offers and how much use your water heater gets, you may be able to get away with replacing it far less often.

After you have inserted the new anode rod into the water heater you may fill the tank back up and turn the power supply and water supply back on.

Still unsure about how to change an anode rod? Try watching this video:

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