October 17, 2023

The water heater in your Las Vegas, NV home likely holds between 50 and 80 gallons of water at all times. If its tank ever ruptures or if slow, hidden leaks develop, you could wind up with thousands of dollars in flooring, drywall, baseboard, and other damages. The good news is that there are several easy ways to prevent both water heater leaks and full-on tank failure.

1. Have Your Tank Drained and Inspected Once Each Year

Nothing is more effective for leak prevention than regular, professional maintenance. As with all of your other plumbing features, it’s essential to have your water heater inspected and maintained at least once each year. When scheduling your annual whole-house plumbing inspection, choose a plumbing company that is well-versed in water heater maintenance, installation, and repairs.

Even with only moderately hard water in your home, your water heater likely develops considerable sediment build-up in a short time period. These build-ups are comprised of naturally occurring minerals like magnesium and calcium that form into solid sediment particles and create thick layers. Sediment layers have an insulating effect that blocks water from absorbing heat from a water heater’s burner. When there is lots of sediment providing this unwanted insulation, water heaters have to work harder to get their jobs done, and they sustain unnecessary wear. It’s also important to note that these build-ups are guaranteed to have a noticeable impact on your home energy bill because it takes more energy for your unit to keep your hot water at the desired temperature.

Draining hot water heaters flushes a good portion of this sediment out. It also gives plumbers a chance to thoroughly assess the integrity of your tank and identify corrosion and other problems before they result in leaks. In addition, if you have a home warranty that protects your home appliances, an active manufacturer’s warranty on your water heater, or unit coverage from a home insurance plan, scheduling annual service by a professional can be essential for keeping your coverage intact.

2. Know Your Water Heater’s Lifespan

Unfortunately, one of the most common causes of water heater failure is continuing to use this appliance long after it has reached the end of its useful lifespan. Most water heaters are expected to last between eight and 12 years. Although diligent maintenance can extend their service lives to up to 20 years, each year that goes by comes with an increasing risk of leaks and other problems. It’s typically far cheaper to replace older water heaters before they fail outright than it is to clean up after they fail.

You might be unsure about the age of your water heater if you recently purchased your home or inherited it. You might not even have thought about the condition of your unit if you have an even and consistent hot water supply. However, if you wait too long to determine your water heater’s age, you may be in for a messy surprise.

The good news is that scheduling water heater maintenance will clear up any confusion. During these appointments, we can tell you the exact age and condition of the model you own. We can also give you an estimate of how long you have before it’s time to replace your water heater. This will ensure that age-related problems or failures never catch you off guard. Knowing when to replace a water heater will also give you time to research your options and budget for a new unit.

3. Tackle Hard Water Problems Head-On

Excessively hard water is the bane of water heaters. The more mineral-rich your tap water is, the faster sediment build-ups will form. To save money, a lot of consumers take a passive approach to addressing their hard water problems. They regularly remove and soak their showerheads and faucet aerators, and they only consume and cook with bottled water.

Taking a more proactive and all-encompassing approach has several benefits and will save you money overall. For instance, installing a water softener will limit your reliance on bottled water, protect your appliances and fixtures, and significantly reduce the likelihood of water heater tank ruptures and leaks. By minimizing the development of sediment at the base of your water heater tank, a water softener can also save you money by keeping your home energy bills at a modest, manageable level. After all, ongoing water heater use likely accounts for about 18% to 20% of your typical home energy bill.

4. Regularly Verify the Condition of Your Water Heater’s Anode Rod

If you’ve ever had a water heater burst before, its anode rod was probably coated in crud. The function of this component is to
attract particles of iron, limestone, or other minerals present in the water through an electrochemical process. It is meant to corrode in place of the tank. They also give homeowners an easy-to-access and easy-to-understand signal of developing problems. Having a badly corroded anode rod means that your water heater tank is in a similar condition. You can have your plumber check the anode rod out during annual service visits, or you can use your owner’s manual to locate it and inspect it yourself. At the very least, the condition of your water heater’s anode rod should be assessed once every two years. If your water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan, you should inspect it yearly.

5. Make Sure That the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve Is Working

Commonly referred to as a T and P valve, the temperature and pressure relief valve on your water heater is an important but often under-appreciated feature. This valve releases excess pressure as needed to ensure that water heaters don’t burst. Although having a functioning T and P valve won’t prevent leaks, it will keep the worst from occurring.

6. Inspect the Tank’s Water Lines Monthly

While inspecting the water lines to your water heater each month might seem like an annoying addition to your ongoing home maintenance checklist, it’s definitely worth the effort. Whole-house plumbing inspections ensure that slow and hidden leaks don’t fester for long before they’re diagnosed and resolved. However, when it comes to water heaters, a lot can happen between visits by a professional. Taking a few minutes to look under and behind this appliance can be especially important if this unit develops a leak just after its last inspection. Catching problems caused by loose connections or damaged components can spare you the hassle of battling mold and mildew issues, replacing your floors and sub-floors, and other problems. To ensure you don’t forget, you can always perform water line inspections the same day you complete your monthly HVAC air filter inspections.

Contact the Professionals

Since 2016, we have proudly served Las Vegas, NV and the surrounding cities. We offer plumbing, heating, cooling, and air quality testing services. We also provide water heater replacement, maintenance, and repair services. To schedule an appointment, contact BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair today.

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