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Why Regular Maintenance Is Critical for Your Water Heater

Water heaters are invaluable for any household or workplace, as they provide hot water for bathing, cleaning, and cooking, among other purposes. However, like any other appliance, they require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. 

Neglecting your water heater can lead to reduced efficiency, higher energy bills, and even safety hazards. This article will discuss why water heater maintenance matters and how to keep your unit in top condition.

The Importance of Water Heater Maintenance

1. Improved Efficiency and Lower Energy Costs

Over time, sediment and mineral buildup can accumulate in your water heater’s tank, reducing efficiency and increasing energy consumption. Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank and cleaning the heating elements, can help remove these deposits and improve your unit’s efficiency. This, in turn, can lower your energy bills and save you money.

2. Increased Lifespan

Water heaters typically last between 8 and 12 years, depending on the model and usage. However, neglecting maintenance can significantly shorten their lifespan and lead to premature failure. Regular maintenance, such as inspecting the anode rod and replacing it when necessary, can help extend your water heater’s lifespan and save you the cost of an early replacement.

3. Reduced Risk of Breakdowns and Repairs

Regular maintenance can help identify potential issues before they become major problems. For example, a technician can inspect the unit’s valves, thermostat, and pressure relief valve to ensure they function correctly. By catching these issues early, you can avoid costly repairs and the inconvenience of a sudden breakdown.

4. Improved Water Quality

Sediment and mineral buildup in your water heater can affect water quality. Over time, these deposits can cause discoloration, a foul smell, and a metallic taste. Regular maintenance can help remove these contaminants, improving the taste and odor of your water.

5. Increased Safety

Water heaters can pose safety hazards if not properly maintained. For example, a gas buildup in the unit can lead to a dangerous explosion. Regular maintenance can identify and correct potential safety issues, such as a faulty pressure relief valve or a gas leak.

Steps for Water Heater Maintenance

1. Check the Pressure Relief Valve

A pressure relief valve prevents your water heater from overheating and exploding. Pull up on the valve’s lever to test it and observe if water flows out. If no water comes out, the valve may be faulty and should be replaced immediately.

2. Inspect the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a sacrificial component that attracts corrosive elements in the water, protecting the tank from rust and corrosion. Over time, the rod will deteriorate and need to be replaced. Inspect the rod annually and replace it if it is less than 1/2 inch thick.

3. Flush the Tank

Sediment and minerals can accumulate in the tank, reducing efficiency and potentially causing damage. To flush the tank, turn off the power or gas supply and connect a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Open the valve and let the water drain out.

4. Check the Heating Elements

If you have an electric water heater, check the heating elements for signs of corrosion or damage. Turn off the power supply and get rid of the access panel on the side of the tank to access the elements. Use a multimeter to test the resistance of the elements.

5. Inspect the Valves and Thermostat

Regularly check the pressure relief valve and the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve to ensure they are functioning correctly. These valves are important safety features that prevent the tank from over-pressurizing or overheating. 

Key Takeaway

Doing regular maintenance on your water heater can extend its lifespan and prevent expensive repairs. By flushing the tank, checking the anode rod, testing the heating elements, and inspecting the valves and thermostat, you can ensure your water heater works efficiently and safely. If you encounter any issues or are unsure about performing maintenance yourself, it’s always best to contact a professional plumber.

When it comes to water health installations and maintenance, we at B&B Family Plumbing can help. Our experienced plumbers in Rock Hill can provide regular maintenance services to keep your water heater working effectively and efficiently.

Call 803-431-0764 to inquire about the price and availability of our plumbing services.