Hot Water Heater Maintenance
It is extremely important for you to perform regular maintenance on your home’s hot water heater. Besides the safety concerns that a faulty water heater can cause, hot water is also the third largest energy expense in the average home. Most electric water heaters will last for about 10–15 years, with gas heaters requiring replacement a bit sooner. Water heaters are a relatively expensive piece of equipment and they operate under extreme conditions of temperature and pressure. When a water heater fails prematurely, the culprit is usually corrosion. Following a solid water heater maintenance plan can help prevent this corrosion from forming and give you many more years of use.
- Tanks should be flushed at least annually.
- Pressure gauges and relief valves should be checked four times a year.
- For glass–lined tanks, replace sacrificial anodes every 2–3 years, or if 6 in. of the core wire is exposed.
- Check combustion chamber and flue for rust and corrosion.
- Limit hot water to maximum 140°F and provide separate heating capability for school kitchens.
- Verify that mixing valves deliver a maximum of 110°F water to fixtures.
- Install timers on water heaters to turn off during unoccupied periods.
- Draining a bucket of water will remove sediment from the tank bottom that could corrode the unit and reduce its heating efficiency. Drain and refill hot–water heater once a year to keep it fully functional.
- Check all the pipe connections and valves for leaks once a month. On gas models, be sure the vent pipe is properly installed and there are no obstructions.
- Routine flushes and replacement of anodes can extend the life of the tank – they can last 20 to 40 years with routine maintenance.