On one fateful morning when you get into the shower while still half asleep and are startled awake by a frigid jet of water. What a jolt to the system! The way to prevent this is with a hot water heater that is properly maintained. In this post, we cover 7 reasons why scheduling maintenance on your hot water heater is so important.
When To Inspect A Hot Water Heater
Hot water heaters need to be inspected regularly. They will suffer wear and tear over time and can become damaged or suffer blockages. Broken hot water heaters can cause all sorts of problems in a home, so it is best to be on the safe side and have them regularly inspected. This will help keep your hot water heater in good working condition.
So when should you inspect a hot water heater?
There are a few key times when you should inspect your hot water heater. These include:
- When you first move into a new home.
- After any major repair or replacement work has been completed on the unit.
- If you notice any strange sounds or leaks coming from the unit.
- If your hot water supply becomes limited in some way.
Generally, inspecting your hot water heater once per month or two is a good idea.
Hot Water Heater Longevity
The average lifespan of a typical hot water heater is about 10-15 years. Regular maintenance can go a long way in making your water heater last this long or longer.
Water heaters must be properly maintained in order to keep the hot water flowing. Not only will this help prevent a cold water surprise – or worse, in-home flooding – but it will also help assure the water heater’s safety, efficiency, and lifespan, all while saving you money and preserving the water supply in your region.
How Hard Water Affects Hot Water Heaters
Hard water may be widespread in your area and the adjacent regions, as detected by the US Geological Survey. When water includes a lot of calcium and magnesium, it’s called “hard water.” Though hard water is not known to have any negative health impacts (calcium and magnesium are important elements), when these minerals pile up in your water heater, it may create problems.
Water heaters in your region must be maintained and monitored on a regular basis if hard water is present. Annual heater flushing is necessary to avoid the rapid accumulation of huge quantities of calcium and magnesium within a water heater, which may cause blockages (build-up can eventually turn into large rocks that get stuck in the system and cannot come out of the water heater). A bi-annual maintenance program is strongly suggested if your region has harsh water.
Another major risk is corrosion. Corrosion, sometimes described as “metal’s worst enemy,” is widespread in water heaters because the combination of metal, water, and oxygen are ideal for the chemical reaction that leads to corrosion. The good news is that most water heaters are constructed to resist corrosion. The following safeguards are included in modern water heaters:
- The inside tank walls are coated with glass.
- An anode rod is a particular device that draws corrosion to it rather than the tank walls.
- To generate an air cushion for water pressure without letting oxygen into the tank, overfill the tank.
In fact, these safeguards cannot completely prevent corrosion, and corrosion can ultimately lead to leakage. Preventative maintenance on a hot water heater may help limit corrosion before it spreads, weakens the metal, and floods your flooring, in addition to decreasing mineral and sediment accumulation.
6 Reasons to Maintain Your Water Heater Properly
There are multiple reasons to schedule necessary maintenance on a hot water heater. The list includes things like checking for leaks, replacing the thermostat and filters, etc. Here are 6 important ones:
1. Boost Efficiency
Water heater maintenance is important for ensuring your system’s efficiency. Without regular maintenance, loose minerals will accumulate on the bottom of your water heater over time, causing it to struggle to provide hot water. These minerals may induce hot spots in a gas water heater, resulting in tank damage and failure; in an electric water heater, they can cause the bottom heating element to fail.
During a maintenance examination, flushing your tank will eliminate these minerals, allowing it to retain or even improve its efficiency.
2. Water Conservation
Water is wasted when our water heater operates inefficiently. How many times have you left the shower or sink running (and running…) to warm up the water? This is wasteful, particularly in California, where authorities have adopted additional water restriction regulations due to drought circumstances.
3. Conserve Funds
Flushing your water heater ensures that it is in good working order, increasing efficiency and lowering your home’s energy use (clean water heaters use less energy). Your energy expenditures may be reduced as a consequence of this, as well as the fact that you’ll have hot water without having to run the faucet for an eternity.
4. Extend Your Water Heater’s Life Expectancy
A typical water heater lasts between 10 and 15 years. You may prolong the life of your water heater by years with yearly or bi-annual maintenance, which can reveal readily fixable faults before they become severe problems needing unit replacement, giving you a far greater return on your investment.
5. Get Rid of Surprises
If you don’t maintain your water heater correctly, the aforementioned cold water shower surprise may be the least of your troubles. A flooded house (with destroyed carpet or flooring) due to a faulty water heater will be even worse.
6. Keep The Water Volume At Maximum
Sediment and mineral deposits occupy space in your heater, limiting the quantity of water it can retain. With frequent flushing, you can remove build-up and make full use of the water tank, allowing your water heater to produce more hot water.
You can learn more in our post How Does Water Pressure and Flow Work?
7. Increase the Level of Safety
Temperature and pressure valves, which safeguard your water heater from extremes by dumping water, are among the safety equipment that needs yearly testing. It’s also crucial to check the relief valve on your water heater to avoid someone getting scalded or burnt.
Maintenance of a Tankless Water Heater
Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters do not have storage tanks. Instead, they heat water on demand by drawing it straight from the source and quickly heating it as it travels to your shower or faucet. However, just because there isn’t a tank doesn’t imply there isn’t any maintenance to be done.
If your city has hard water, tankless water heaters need to be maintained once a year (preferably twice a year). Flushing the system to eliminate buildup in the pipes and cleaning the air and water filter are also part of routine maintenance. This will verify that all of the heater’s components function properly.
Schedule Water Heater Maintenance or Replacement
Until we come home to a flooded floor or are rudely awakened in the morning by a cold water shower, we don’t think much about our hot water heaters. Rather than wait for an emergency, put your water heater on a regular maintenance schedule. Not only will it help you avoid unpleasant and sometimes costly surprises, but it can also save you money, water, and a lot of headaches.
Finding water heater maintenance services in your area is easy to do. If you search “water heater maintenance near me” online, you can find a number of sites dedicated to providing you with plumbing services.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is water heater maintenance important?
A: Water heaters are often a source of significant energy use in the home. So if you have one, it is important to regularly maintain its operation and cleanliness.
What maintenance does a water heater need?
A: A water heater needs periodic maintenance during which it is filled with either fresh or saltwater, and then drained of the old. After this process has been completed, all that remains are the sediment left in the bottom of the tank and mineral deposits on heating elements.
How often should you do maintenance on your water heater?
A: This depends on the size of your system and what type it is. For a standard water heater, you should keep an eye on it every 3-5 weeks for 10 minutes each time to ensure nothing has gone wrong.
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