Simple Tips for Keeping Your Water Heater in Great Condition
All water heaters have a maximum lifespan and will eventually need to be replaced. That being said, there are things that you can do to maximize your water heater’s lifespan and ensure that you get the most out of the unit. With that in mind, here are a few simple tips that can help to ensure your water heater remains in good condition and continues to function efficiently and effectively for as long as possible.
Have Your Water Heater Inspected and Maintained Annually
Regular inspections and preventative maintenance are by far the best thing you can do to ensure that your water heater works correctly and reaches its expected lifespan, and this is true for all types of units. Traditional gas water heaters will typically last for around eight to 12 years, while most traditional electric units will last for around 12 to 15 years. Tankless water heaters have a much longer life expectancy and should last for anywhere from 20 to 30 years. However, if you don’t take the time to have your water heater professionally inspected and maintained, there is a high chance that its lifespan could be cut in half.
Having your water heater inspected every year is essential as it allows you to identify any problems that could limit the unit’s effectiveness and lead to greater wear and tear or cause it to fail prematurely. If the plumber does identify any problems, they can then quickly repair the issue to ensure that the unit continues to work as it should.
Maintenance is also essential for preventing problems that could cause the unit to not work properly. Many water heater issues start off fairly minor, but can quickly turn into something much more serious if not taken care of promptly. For instance, if the anode rod inside the tank is worn out, it will quickly lead to much more corrosion and could cause the unit to leak. Similarly, any issues with the gas burner or electric heating element could lead to the unit not heating properly and thus needing to run more frequently and for longer.
One important part of maintaining a gas water heater is cleaning the unit’s burners. Dust and debris will always accumulate on the burners over time, and this can potentially lead to the burners becoming completely clogged so that no gas can flow. Dirty burners can also cause the gas to not combust fully, which means that the unit will produce less heat and thus need to run for longer and experience greater wear and tear.
Flush Your Water Heater Regularly
Flushing a water heater regularly is another essential part of keeping the unit working properly and preventing the most common issues. Traditional water heaters always experience issues with sediment building up inside the tank. As water is heated inside the tank, some of the dissolved minerals will harden and form a sediment layer that settles to the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank works to remove the sediment and is something that should be done at least once or twice a year.
Sediment buildup is the primary reason that most traditional water heaters end up failing. With gas units, sediment will lead to hot spots forming at the bottom of the tank whenever the unit heats, and these hot spots can weaken and corrode the tank to the point where it begins leaking. With traditional electric units, sediment often leads to the lower electric heating element wearing out.
Sediment buildup is also why many older water heaters make loud banging or knocking noises whenever they heat. These noises result from air bubbles rising up through the sediment, which disturbs it and causes it to knock against the side of the tank.
Tankless water heaters don’t typically have any sediment issues since they don’t store any hot water. That being said, tankless water heaters should also be flushed every year in order to prevent issues caused by limescale building up inside the unit.
Flushing a water heater is a fairly simple task that involves hooking up a hose to the unit and draining the tank and then flushing out all the sediment with fresh water. While you can definitely flush your water heater on your own, the easiest thing is to simply have a plumber flush the unit for you as part of your yearly maintenance service.
Don’t Set the Temperature Too High
Most water heaters are designed to heat to anywhere from 120 to 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything under 120 degrees is too low as it can lead to harmful bacteria growing inside the tank. The biggest risk is that Legionella bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s disease can form inside the tank. The best way to avoid this is to always leave your water heater set to somewhere around 130 to 140 degrees as this should prevent any bacteria from growing inside the tank.
However, it is also important that you never set your water heater as high as it can go. Not only will setting the temperature to max greatly increase the risk of potential scalding, but it will also lead to your water heater having a shorter lifespan. The higher the temperature is set, the more frequently the unit will need to heat and the longer it will need to run each time it turns on. This leads to increased wear and tear on the water heater and will typically cause it to fail and need to be replaced more quickly.
Never Put Off Any Necessary Repairs
You should also always monitor your water heater’s performance and watch out for any signs that may indicate the unit isn’t working as it should. This includes things like your water not getting hot enough or it taking a much longer time to reheat after you’ve used up all of your hot water. Other issues to watch out for include knocking sounds, higher gas or electricity bills, and leaks. If you do notice any potential issues, you should immediately contact a plumber and never wait to get your water heater repaired.
Even minor problems will make your water heater work harder and could quickly turn into a much more serious issue that may cause the unit to completely fail. If you put off getting the issue repaired, you may end up needing to replace the entire unit or facing a much steeper repair bill than if you contacted a plumber immediately.
If you need any type of water heater service in the Las Vegas area, you can trust the team at BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair to help. Our licensed plumbers specialize in water heater repairs and maintenance, and we can quickly determine what issues your unit has and how best to fix them. If your old unit needs to be replaced, we can also help you choose which new water heater is best and handle the entire installation from start to finish. We also work on drains, water lines, gas lines, sewer lines, and water filtration systems, and we have a team of certified HVAC technicians that specializes in installing, repairing, and maintaining heating and air conditioning systems.
For more information or to schedule any plumbing or HVAC service, give us a call today.