Your water heater is one of the most important appliances in your home. It’s also typically one of the most underappreciated. Even though you use your water heater every day, relying on it to provide you with a warm bath or shower each morning, clean your clothes on laundry day, and supply your dining room with clean dishes, you probably don\’t give it a second thought. If you’d like your water heater to keep working without a hitch for as long as you can (water heaters typically are expected to last around 12 years), there are several routine maintenance tips you can follow to avoid a plumbing emergency, and keep your unit working like a champ for the lowest possible cost.  

Watch the temperature. The U.S Department of Energy recommends you adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. By making this simple adjustment, you can save up to 5% in energy costs (as much as $400 annually) as well as reducing the risk of showering with scalding water.  

Inspect the pressure valve on a regular basis. Every water heater is equipped with a pressure valve, designed to release excess pressure. A broken pressure valve can cause serious damage – even an explosion! To check your water heater’s valve, put a bucket under the valve pressure pipe and manually open the lever, allowing hot water to flow out. If the water doesn’t flow, the valve is broken and needs to be replaced as soon as possible. It’s important to do this safely. While inspecting your unit, you should wear gloves and safety goggles and use your best judgment, because the water could be scalding hot, leading to severe burns.

Drain your tank several times a year. This is easy, and helps you remove built-up sediment and debris. Just turn off the cold-water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, and run water into a bucket until it’s clear. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water supply valve to stir up remaining sediment and drain the tank again.

Examine the sacrificial anode rod. This is a long metal rod designed to attract corrosive elements in your water. If it becomes too corroded itself and can’t do its job, the water heater will rust out, leading to leaks. If you replace the anode road every five years – before it fails – you can double the life of your water heater.  

Be on the lookout for leaks. If you see a leak, it might be caused by poorly installed pipes.
This is why it’s so important to choose the correct type of pipes for your unit, to ensure they can handle high pressure and temperatures.

Additional tips: always keep 2 feet of clearance around your heater, and if you\’re going on vacation for several days, set the thermostat on your gas water heater to the “vacation” setting to maintain the pilot light without heating the water.

If you have questions about your water heater or need a plumber 24/7, contact the

Duke City’s premier residential plumber: B&D Industries. For more than 60 years, we’ve been committed to delivering exceptional, customer-centered service. We are dedicated to delivering service that lives up to our motto: Whatever it Takes.