Water Heaters: Four Maintenance Tasks

Posted on: 26 November 2018

Because of water heaters, you're able to enjoy piping hot water for laundry, showers, cleaning dishes, and baths within moments. In spite of the vital work these heaters perform, they're rarely maintained so much as ignored. If you haven't seen the water heater this year, you're not alone. How can you preserve this important appliance?

Flush Heater

Your manual will lay out the directions for attempting a flush for your specific heater, but usually, it will consist of turning off both water and electrical power and draining water out through a garden hose attached to the drain valve. A flush will generally empty debris, mineral buildup, and tank sediment from the tank.

Use Anode Rods

If your heater is made like most, you've got a glass tank liner inside the metal heater itself. However, left alone, the lining can ultimately crack, making significant repairs necessary. To avoid this, anode rods should be inserted. These rods will slowly attract the substances which weaken the glass liner and contribute to its cracking.

Use Your Eyes

Usually, your eyes will alert you to the first sign of possible tank issues. If you see drips, wet floors, or other probable leak signs, for example, the heater could need inspection or replacement. Corrosion or rust on the metal exterior or along gas lines could compromise the entire heater and pose gas exposure problems. Charring or soot might reveal heater combustion trouble. While you might not be looking intently at the tank each day, take the opportunity every month or so to assess the heater and notice anything odd.

Read Manual

Perhaps the simplest, most effective method of managing your water heater is just reading its manual. Many people have never even seen a water heater's manual, much less claim to have read through it. That's because heaters are usually installed far before a family moves in. Even with a new heater installed, many people aren't aware of a manual. Luckily, most manufacturers will have online manuals available.

Manuals are useful because the manufacturer typically includes relevant information about how frequently to do maintenance tasks and how best to address minor issues. If you're unsure how you can protect the heater, the manual should explain what to try.

Water heaters are sometimes unappreciated by homeowners, but just the most basic of actions can preserve the equipment. HVAC and water heater repair contractors, retailers, and others familiar with these tanks can offer more advice.