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5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater


Image: a person working on a water heater, cover for 5 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater.
Water heaters have a lifespan. No matter what they’re made of, even the most expensive models will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Most water heaters last between ten to fifteen years. However, there are things you can do to extend the life of your water heater.

Flush Your Water Heater Once Every Year

Flushing your water heater is a simple process that can help you to get rid of sediment and other minerals that build up in the tank. It is essential to flush your water heater at least once a year to prevent premature failure and reduce the risk of being exposed to harmful bacteria or chemicals.

To flush your water heater, you will need to turn off the power source and open all faucets in the house. Then, run cold water through the pipes for about an hour.

Image: a person preforming a water heater flush.
After that, drain the hot water from the top of your water heater into a bucket until it runs clear. Next, drain out another gallon or two from each faucet to eliminate any remaining sediment in the pipes.

Change the Anode Rod

An anode rod is a metal rod that protects your water heater from corrosion. Anodes are made of aluminum or magnesium. They get installed in your water heater tank to protect the tank from corrosion from the inside out. Without anodes, your hot water tank will rust and leak over time, causing extensive damage to your home.

How do you know when to change your anode rod? You can tell when it’s time for a new anode rod if you notice any leaks around your hot water heater. Or if you see brown discoloration on the exterior walls of your tank. This means rusting is happening inside your tank, and it’s time for a new rod.

Image: a rusted and corroded anode rod.
The average life expectancy of an anode rod is five years, so if yours has been installed longer than that, it’s definitely time for a new one. A water heater tune-up will diagnose any problems before they become costly repairs.

Consider an Expansion Tank

The expansion tank is a safety device attached to the water heater. The expansion tank allows the water heater to expand as it heats up and contract as it cools down. Without an expansion tank, your water heater could burst or crack if the pressure got too high or too low.

An expansion tank has two main functions: preventing leaks and preventing damage to your system. If there was no pressure relief valve, every time you turned on a faucet or flushed the toilet, hot water would fill up all your pipes until they burst! An expansion tank relieves some of that pressure.

Image: an expansion tank on a water heater.
Most people don’t think about an expansion tank until they need it, but they’re grateful they have one. Without one, if your pipes were to leak or burst, there would be nowhere for the excess pressure to go except through your walls and ceiling.

Test the Pressure-Relief Valve

A pressure release valve is an important safety feature of your water heater. If your water heater overheats, the pressure release valve will open to relieve pressure inside the tank. This prevents damage to the tank and stops it from cracking – essential if you don’t want a flood in your home.

The pressure release valve needs to be tested annually to ensure it works properly. This can alert you to potential problems before they become serious.

If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t know what kind of pressure-release valve your home has. But if you want to be sure that it’s working properly, you should have it tested by a professional plumber during a routine water heater tune-up.

Image: a water pressure measuring tool.

Yearly checks are the best way to save money in the long run. A plumber can spot and fix problems immediately, so you don’t have to worry about costly surprises down the road.

Install a Water Softener or Whole House Filter

A softener is a device that uses ion exchange to remove hard minerals from your water supply. A magnetic and/or electric field causes hardness minerals like calcium and magnesium to bond with sodium ions from the salt in softened water, which then flows through an outlet as waste brine. The softened water flows through your home’s plumbing system, which can be used for drinking, cooking, bathing, laundry, and much more.

The same process takes place in a whole house filter. However, instead of removing hard water minerals from only one tap or faucet, whole-house filters provide filtered drinking water throughout your home. These devices are designed for use with municipal water supplies with high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium.

Book your next water heater tune-up with the professionals at HELP and keep your home’s water system in good working order.

Posted in: Plumbing

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