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As a homeowner, you know how important it is to have a preventive maintenance schedule. However, when most people think about preventive maintenance for their home, they only think about things such as changing air filters, replacing smoke detector batteries and checking for plumbing and roofing leaks. But all too often, homeowners fail to include routine maintenance for their hot water heater on their routine home maintenance schedule.

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The Importance of Maintaining Your Water Heater

Your hot water heater is just like anything else you own. If you maintain it properly, it will last longer, work better and ultimately help you save money on your utility bill. However, if you don’t maintain it, you might be left taking some unexpected cold showers. Not to mention the expense of having it fixed or replaced, and the fact that not maintaining your hot water heater will also make your monthly utility bills higher than they should be.

Most hot water heaters have a life expectancy of 15 years or more, if they’ve been properly maintained. Additionally, you could save up to five percent in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature. The recommended temperature for a hot water heater is 120 degrees.

Recommended Routine Maintenance for Your Hot Water Heater

There are several things you need to routinely do if you want to keep your hot water heater working in optimal condition while preserving its life expectancy.

  • Always allow a two foot clearance around the unit, unless your state law requires an alternative distance.

  • Adjust the temperature to 120 degrees as mentioned above.

  • Test the pressure relief valve periodically.

  • Drain at least a quarter of your hot water heater tank two to three times each year to remove sediment and other debris.

  • Inspect the anode rod about every three years.

Best Practices for Maintaining Your Hot Water Heater

Now that you know how important it is to maintain your hot water heater, here are a few other things you should consider.

  • If you have an older hot water heater, consider wrapping the tank with a fiberglass insulated cover.

  • And insulate the hot and cold water pipes leading to the unit with foam insulation that matches the pipes to help reduce your energy costs and prevent condensation during the summer months.

  • Additionally, if you will be away from your home for an extended period of time, and you have a gas water heater, set the thermostat to the vacation setting.

  • And if you live in an area that has hard water, consider installing a water softener on your home to help prevent excessive lime and calcium from ruining your unit.

If you have any questions or need any help, we are your 24/7 emergency plumber!