Tips for Maintaining Your Hot Water Heater

Many people do not fully appreciate how important their water heater is until it malfunctions and everyone in the house is taking cold showers. Hot water heaters, usually found in our garage or basement, are the mechanisms that heat all of the water needed in our sinks, kitchens, and bathtubs. They are made to last for a long time if they are adequately maintained. The following will outline four steps you can do, as a homeowner, to maximize the life of your water heater.

Set the Water Heater Temperature

You can find the temperature-setting valve on the lower part of the water heater or at the back depending on the kind of water heater that you have. When you begin to check the water temperature, check out the temperature dial, if it registers over 120 degrees, it is probably too high. You can save energy by turning the dial back to 120 degrees or even lower if you prefer. Not only that, but you can also protect your water heater from burning out.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

This is an easy way to see if your water heater will have to be replaced soon, or not. Locate the pressure relief valve and lift it halfway. It should automatically snap back to its original position. You should also hear some noise as water is released back down the drain tube. If this valve does not work than you know you will have to start looking for a replacement.

Inspect the condensing unit

A fan that is attached to the condenser should always be in good condition, and you have to inspect it regularly. If you notice any cracks or chips on the fan blades, you should replace it immediately. If your system is an older model, you need to oil the fan motor often. You should also look for sign of overheating, melted insulation, burned wires among any other repairs. If any major maintenance and care tasks are needed, you should let a professional handle them.

Flush System

As a water heater is running, small deposits build up at the bottom of the tank. In time becomes a recipe for corrosion and rust. You cannot do a total flush in most cases because the whole system must be turned completely off and the water tank must be full.

Here is how one can do a partial flush. Put a container under the drain valve. It is located at the bottom of the hot water tank. Turn the valve counter clockwise. The heater will proceed to release water into the container. It will not be more than a few gallons.

For electric water heaters, the electricity should be shut off before draining, so it does not burn out.

Find out which circuit breaker controls the power. Check out the electrical connection at the top of the heater for frayed or loose wires. If you are in doubt of the wires, have an electrician check it out first. For Gas water heaters, clean the air passage to the burner before draining. Shut off the gas first by following the instructions.

Remove the access cover to the burner area and the pilot light. Remove debris and dirt and examine the top of the water heater to ensure the exhaust flue is secure. Gas water heaters should be installed 18 inches above the ground and make sure no flammable materials are near the unit.

Noting the Maintenance

Put a huge sticker outwardly of the water heater, yet don't put it on anything vital. Note the date when you check or supplant the anode poles. Make certain that you turn the power off if you have a water heater that runs off electricity. It can be a huge safety issue if you do not. If any of the connections are damaged in any way, then you should call a technician to take care of it for you.

These are essential tips that you can do once or twice per year to make sure your water heater is running at peak performance.


  • American Standard
  • Trane
  • Carrier
  • Bryant
  • Lennox
  • Honeywell
  • Space Pak