It’s common knowledge that the water heater, just like almost everything else in this world, has a lifespan. Regardless of the age of your current water heater, you’re very lucky if it lasts more than 10-15 years. However, you can extend the life of your water heater by taking routine care of it. Think of this like changing a car’s oil.

If you are looking for more information about to extend the life of your water heater, you’re in the right place. These tips will help keep your water heater in good working order for as long as possible.

Flush Your Water Heater Once Every Year

Water heaters, like all other appliances, need to be cleaned. And you should know how to flush your water heater. When you flush your water heater, you’re cleaning it from the inside out. Removing sediment and scale leaves a fresh start for the next time you use your hot water supply. Think of it like changing the oil in your car.

A thorough flushing procedure removes sediment from the bottom of the tank, including minerals that have built up over time and can block or corrode the tank’s internal components. This helps ensure that all system parts are working properly, including temperature controls and pressure relief valves.

Image: a person doing a water heater flush.
Contact your local plumbing professionals for a water heater flush if you need help.

Change the Anode Rod

An anode rod is a metal rod installed in your water heater to prevent corrosion and rust from damaging the tank. As water passes through the tank, it comes into contact with dissolved minerals in your water supply. Those minerals react with the metal inside your tank and form a layer of corrosion on its surface. The anode rod serves as a sacrificial piece of metal that corrodes instead of the inner shell of your tank so that you don’t have to replace it too soon.

How often should you change your anode rod?

Image: a rusted anode rode.
It depends on how long your current anode rod has been installed and how often you use your hot water. To determine whether or not it’s time to change your anode rod, look at its color. If it appears faded or discolored, then chances are that it’s time for a replacement — especially if you live in an area where hard water or well water is prevalent.

Consider an Expansion Tank

An expansion tank is a device used to prevent water heater fires and damage to the appliance by reducing the pressure inside the water heater tank. It does this by allowing a small amount of air to escape from the tank through a vent pipe when hot water is drawn from the faucet. The air then escapes back into the atmosphere outside your house. Without an expansion tank, water heaters can overheat and burst due to high pressure inside their tanks.

Why do you need an expansion tank?

Image: a water heater expansion tank.
Water heaters have limited space for storing hot water, so if there’s no room left, pressure builds up in the tank until it causes damage or malfunctions. That’s where expansion tanks come into play — they allow for some additional space without adding another tank or replacing your existing one (which could be expensive).

Test the Pressure-Relief Valve

A pressure relief valve is an important safety device on any water heater.

This important device protects the tank from excessively high pressure due to a leak or other problem. When excessive pressure builds up in the tank, it will release some of the hot water through the relief valve. This shouldn’t be confused with a temperature relief valve, which releases cool water when there is too much heat inside your tank.

Image: a water pressure measuring tool.
The purpose of a pressure relief valve is to protect you from harm by preventing your hot water tank from leaking if something goes wrong with it. This is why you must regularly test your pressure relief valve or book water heater tune-ups.

Install a Water Softener or Whole House Filter

Water heaters are not designed to last forever. As they age, they become less efficient and more prone to failure.

A water softener or whole house filter helps to extend the life of your water heater by reducing the amount of minerals and other contaminants that get into your water supply.

These appliances reduce the amount of sediment, rust, and other materials in your water supply that can clog pipes and damage appliances. They also protect against lead contamination by removing harmful metals from the drinking water supply.

The most common types of whole house filters and softeners are made from calcium sulfate (also known as gypsum) or zeolites — mineral rocks that remove particles from water as it flows through them.

Water heaters are not a one-time investment. They require regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently. Keep your water heater in top condition by booking a water heater tune-up with the plumbing pros at ASI.