Small Steps To Prolong The Life Of Your Water Heater

May 14, 2024

A typical tank water heater can be expected to last eight to twelve years before requiring replacement. However, many factors can play a role in the need for replacement, including a lack of maintenance and inefficient use of your water heater. Knowing how to maintain a water heater will make a big difference in the life expectancy of your water heater, help you get the most from this appliance, and prevent premature repairs or replacements.

Turn Down the Temperature

Many water heaters come straight from the factory with their output temperature set much higher than necessary, up to 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit. The average household only requires water heated to a temperature of 120 degrees. This temperature setting may prevent accidental scalding, and may also prolong the lifetime of your water heater. By placing less demand on your water heater, you’ll prevent undue stress that could cause its components to wear out prematurely.

You can check the temperature of your home’s hot water by running the hot water from the faucet nearest the water heater for at least one minute. After this time, fill a mug with hot water from the tap, use a candy or cooking thermometer to check the temperature, and set your water heater accordingly.

Know Your Water Pressure

Your home’s water pressure also plays a role in the longevity of your water heater. Excessively high water pressure can stress your water heater, causing it to wear out quickly and spring leaks that require replacement to address. You can test your home’s water pressure using a water pressure gauge, which can be attached to an outdoor hose bib or faucet to read the water pressure in your home’s plumbing pipes. If your pressure is too high, a plumber can install a device to reduce it, thus reducing stress on your water heater.

Clean Your Tank

Flushing your water heater monthly can help to reduce mineral buildup inside the tank, it’s also important to clean your tank periodically. You should use a solution designed to remove lime, rust, and calcium from the tank’s inner walls. Especially if you are moving into a home and aren’t sure when the water heater was last flushed, this step can return your tank to a condition much closer to being pristine.

To clean your tank, you’ll need to purchase a CLR (calcium, lime, and rust) cleaning solution, typically available in gallon-sized containers. Disconnect your water heater from its power and water sources and drain a few inches of water, then pour the cleaner slowly into the inlet pipe. Let the cleaner sit in the tank for at least five hours, then rinse your water heater by draining all the water and running fresh water in. Allow the tank to drain for several minutes to flush away any remaining sediment and cleaner. Finally, close the outlet valve and fill the tank, then open all your home’s hot water taps to release any trapped air from the system before restoring the power to your water heater again.

Caring for your water heater requires a little professional help for the best results. You can visit our website to learn more about our comprehensive heating, cooling, and water heater services throughout Metro Detroit, or check out our blog for additional at-home tips to maintain your HVAC system, improve your indoor air quality, and protect your water heater.

Common Questions About Water Heater Care

Now that you know a few tips to preserve the lifespan of your water heater, we can show you the importance of water heater care. Learning how to maintain a hot water heater can help you understand how your system works, as well as ways to improve energy efficiency and performance.

When Should I Replace My Hot Water Heater?

Performing hot water heater care involves discussing the best time to invest in a new unit. Typically, you’ll need to replace your home water heater once it shows signs of aging. At first, you may just notice an increase in your energy bill or a decrease in available hot water.

Over time, you might spot dripping or pooling water around the tank’s base. If you see water that isn’t clear or smells bad, or hear odd noises from inside the tank, you may have issues that call for repair or replacement.

Which Maintenance Tasks Should I Perform Annually?

When you start researching how to maintain an electric water heater, you should know that you can perform many necessary tasks. Once a year, schedule a time for flushing the tank to remove sediment. Take a look at the pressure relief valve, and make a note if the valve seems to release pressure frequently.

As you inspect the unit, look for signs of corrosion on the tank’s exterior. A little investment of your time can help you avoid common problems and increase performance.

How Do I Select a Hot Water Heater Temperature?

Reducing the water temperature on your water heater may help you save energy and improve the lifespan of your equipment, but you should choose the temperature that works best for your home and your needs. The path to discovering how to maintain a tankless water heater can help you find the right setting.

If you have young children, you may set the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to minimize scalding. By comparison, if you or a household member has immune system suppression or chronic respiratory diseases, you may need to set the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Do I Know Which Water Heater to Buy?

When you start shopping for a new water heater, you should consult contractors who have experience with top brands. Hiring our plumbers to install water heaters from brands, such as A.O. Smith, Rheem, Bradford White, and more, can give you better performance, efficiency, and lifespan.

You can select from a range of options that offer quiet operation, high efficiency, consistent hot water supply, and more. As you browse your options for water heater installation in Michigan, plan for regular maintenance to help you get the most from your system each year.

How Can I Avoid Shortening the Lifespan of My Water Heater?

Failing to complete necessary maintenance can create several problems for your water heater. Routine maintenance may help confirm that the system functions appropriately, and may provide an early warning of trouble on the horizon. If you do not know that you have a problem, you may allow the situation to worsen before it significantly affects your water output and efficiency.

At least once a year, you should drain the tank to remove sediment and check the interior. You should also check the insulation around pipes and set the temperature to an efficient setting. Missing these steps can lead to poor performance and a shorter lifespan for the water heater.

What Should I Do to Protect My Water Heater During Extreme Weather?

You can take a few easy steps to protect your water heater in extreme weather. During extremely low temperatures in the Michigan winter, consider adding a water heater blanket and pipe insulation to minimize heat loss. Run your faucet at a slow drip to prevent pipes from freezing.

When the temperature rises, you should confirm airflow around your water heater and keep your air conditioning system running. Otherwise, keeping an eye on the system and checking for leaks can help you find problems before they become catastrophic.

When and How Often Should I Schedule Professional Water Heater Maintenance?

Scheduling annual water heater maintenance may help you minimize stress on the system, maintain a high level of performance over time, and isolate potential problems early. If you have yet to perform maintenance on your water heater this year, you should arrange it as soon as possible.

Our plumbers can show you how often you need water heater maintenance, depending on the condition of your unit, water hardness, and other factors. During a water heater checkup, plumbers flush the tank of sediment, test valves and connections for proper use, and inspect each component. As a result, you can look forward to a year of reliable hot water for you and your household.

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Last Updated: May 23, 2024