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On average, an electric storage water heater should last a decade or so, depending on your usage, model, and such. Whether you have a spiffy new electric storage water heater or one that has been with you for years, regular maintenance is the best way to guarantee that your water heater can do its job properly throughout its lifespan. And how well you maintain your water heater will have a massive impact on how long it lasts.
By performing routine maintenance on your water heater, you can stave off premature disrepair and help your water heater last longer and run efficiently. You’ll also be able to avoid pricey repairs or replacing your heater sooner than you should.
Here are some of the things that you must keep in mind when you perform water heater maintenance, so let’s get right to it!
1. Turn off the heater. For safety purposes, we recommend turning it off for at least 30 minutes before you perform maintenance.
2. Inspect the water heater for any leaks. To spot any openings, use a mix of warm water and dish soap and apply it on the pipes and joints of your water heater. See bubbles? That’s where you have a leak. A drop in pressure is also indicative of leakage.
3. Check all the valves. Give your temperature and pressure valves a thorough check before you proceed with the maintenance work. Lift the lever slowly until you hear water flowing into the drainpipe or the tube.
4. Drain the water heater. To drain, close the incoming water valve and connect a hose to the drain valve. Then, let the water from your heater drain.
5. Remove build-up of mineral sediment. Once you’ve drained the water heater, you need to flush your water heater’s tank yearly to remove residues and prevent build-up that can rust right through the steel. Peer through the clean hole with a torch to find debris, soot or dust that are left behind. To remove them, open a hot water tap and the pressure release valve, then use a hose and bucket to drain the water from the tank until it runs clear and free of sediment.
6. Check the heating element for scale. Scale is an accumulation of minerals, mainly calcium and magnesium, and they look like white particles or pieces of paper. If you do see them, simply use a ball of green wool or a piece of cloth to remove them.
7. Check the magnesium anode rod. The anode rod has a fantastic job of drawing corrosive ions to it so it can prevent rusting on the tank. If the rod looks like it has done its job well, or if you’ve not changed the rod for two years, you’ll have to replace it. Replacing the anode rod once every two years or so could significantly lengthen the life of your water heater.
8. Replace flange gaskets if needed. As insignificant as they may be, a flange gasket holds great responsibilities. A flange gasket is used to join two sections of the pipe. We suggest replacing the flange gaskets during each servicing or maintenance.
9. Refill the water tank. Once you have checked through the water heater and cleaned the tank, make sure to refill it by closing all the valves and turning on the water.
10. One last check. Ensure there isn’t any water leakage and the power light is on. Once you have the above nine steps checked, your heater is in good shape!
If the above seems complicated to you, we suggest getting a trained plumber for help. After all, he/she will surely know his/her way around a storage water heater!