You regularly need to perform water heater maintenance in your home because hot water heating is typically the third largest energy expense in a home, after space heating and cooling. Typical water heater life is 10-15 years, less for gas heaters. In addition, a water heater is a relatively expensive appliance, and it operates under very severe conditions (high temperatures, and cycling on and off). Corrosion is the primary cause of premature tank failure so make sure to follow a solid water heater maintenance plan.
- Tanks should be flushed at least annually.
- Pressure gauges and relief valves should be checked four times a year.
- For glass-lined tanks, replace sacrificial anodes every 2-3 years, or if 6 in. of the core wire is exposed.
- Check combustion chamber and flue for rust and corrosion.
- Limit hot water to maximum 140°F and provide separate heating capability for school kitchens.
- Verify that mixing valves deliver a maximum of 110°F water to fixtures.
- Install timers on water heaters to turn off during unoccupied periods
- Draining a bucket of water will remove sediment from the tank bottom that could corrode the unit and reduce its heating efficiency. Drain and refill hot-water heater once a year to keep it fully functional.
- Check all the pipe connections and valves for leaks once a month. On gas models, be sure the vent pipe is properly installed and there are no obstructions.
- Routine flushes and replacement of anodes can extend the life of the tank – they can last 20 to 40 years with routine maintenance.
Contact your local San Diego HVAC technician for help with any water heater maintenance.