Home Maintenance Tips: Check Your Hot Water Heater

How often do you think about your hot water heater?  Can you remember the last time that you checked it? Typically, water heaters last 10 to 15 years, but with a little care maintenance they can last even longer.

water-heaterSome things to consider about your tank:

Check the exterior. Leaks rust on the outside could be early indicators of problems inside the tank.

Sacrificial anodes, the magnesium or aluminum rods that screw into the tank, get used up. The sacrificial anodes undergo electrolysis so that the steel in the tank is not effected, increasing longevity of the tank. Depending on the number of sacrificial anodes, the tank may have a 6 year, 12 year, or longer warranty. Not replacing them when they are used up may result in damage to the tank.

Sediment builds up over time. Part of your regular hot water heater maintenance should include flushing the tank. Sediment build up can cause the heating element to burn out, as well as cause damage to the bottom of the tank due to overheating.

Check that the pressure relief valve works. When it lifts up, it should release hot water via the overflow pipe.

Ideally, hot water tanks should be checked monthly as part of your regular home maintenance. The recommendation for testing the pressure relief valves draining the tank is every six months.

And just one personal bit of experience – Bob’s parents recently replaced their very old water heater when we hauled it out, we found over a foot of old iron sediment in the bottom of it! After the new one was in place for about a week, Mom & Dad told us they were feeling ‘better’ their digestion had improved. They are quite active  in their 80’s, so this was very good news. And yes, we think it was the water that was causing their problems.

Feeling nervous about doing this yourself? Call HB Building Design. We are always happy to help.