When most people purchase a new hot water heater, they assume that it will last for a predetermined period. And once that time has been reached, or if it stops working before then, it’s time to buy a new water heater. The good news is that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the more you know about your water heater, the easier it will be to maintain and the longer it will last. It will also work more efficiently as well.
Flush it. Virtually every maker of hot water heaters recommends that their equipment be flushed at least once a year. This is done to remove sediment that settles at the bottom of the tank. This sediment is not only dirt and sand but all kinds of impurities that make their way to your water supply. Obviously, whether they get past the water heater or not, sediment can affect the taste of your water, so you should try to remove as much as possible.
Hot water heaters are all made differently, so if you decide to flush your own, make sure you read the instructions on how to do this before you start. Most manufacturers are very complete when they create the instructions for their products. If you would rather not do this, or don’t feel like you can handle the job yourself, contact a plumber to do the job for you.
Check the anode rod and replace it if necessary. Most people have never heard of an anode rod, nor do they know what its purpose is. An anode rod is a device that hangs in the water inside of your water heater to prolong its life by preventing it from rusting out. The anode rod is made of magnesium or aluminum around a steel core that is screwed into the top of the water heater. There can be one or two anode rods inside of your water heater. In fact, most makers offer longer warrantees if you have more than one anode rod inside of your water heater. Anode rods should be checked each year when you clean your water heater and replaced if they are corroded. Replacing a badly corroded anode rod is far cheaper than replacing a water heater.
Insulate your water heater tank. Insulating your water heater tank is one thing you only have to do once in the life of your equipment. Not only that, but it’s something you can do yourself and do it very easily. Wrapping your water heater in a blanket of insulation is something that will improve its efficiency by up to 40 percent.
Making your hot water heater last longer is not rocket science, but it does take consistency. Make sure all of these steps are completed every year, and chances are good that your hot water heater will last far longer than you would have ever expected it to otherwise. If you have your doubts about your ability to perform this maintenance, call a local plumber.
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