How to Easily Maintain a Water Heater

By Popularmechanics

Mar 27, 2017 12:15 PM

A well-functioning water heater keeps a household running smoothly. When the water cools or runs out, everyone will notice the next time they want a nice, hot shower. Here are a few steps you can take to maximize the performance of your water heater before having to replace it.

Flush it

An older gas water heater will benefit most from regular flushing. This will remove sediment from the tank, conserve energy, and allow the heater to maintain a warmer water temperature. Check out our guide to flushing a water heater.

Insulate it

A water heater can lose a tremendous amount of heat and energy through the pipes and sides of the tank. To prevent this from happening you can insulate the pipes carrying the heated water into the house or through unheated crawl spaces. Plumbing pipe insulation can be found at your local hardware store or ordered online. Use insulation tape to keep it in place.

Next insulate the hot water tank. You can cut strips of fiberglass insulation and attach them to the sides of the heater, but an easier and more efficient solution is to use a water heater blanket. These wrap around your water heater snugly and are excellent at preventing heat loss.
Replace the anode rod

Rust is what will eventually destroy your water heater. Most water heaters have effective lifespan of 8 to 12 years, but you can increase the life of your water heater by replacing the anode rod. An anode rod will corrode before the steel does, and in effect serves as a sacrificial rust attractant. Once the anode rod rusts, your tank is next. Follow our guide to replacing an anode rod which will add years to the life of your water heater.

Beyond repair

When a tank begins to leak, it's done. It can't be fixed. The key is to perform regular maintenance on your water heater to max out its lifespan.