Water Heater Maintenance

Water Heater

It is important to maintain your water heater for efficiency, safety and the life of the unit. It is a fairly expensive and important piece of household equipment. Flushing out sediments and testing the pressure relief valve, plus other annual inspection duties should be performed according to the instructions in your manual for the unit. If after reading these instructions, you feel uncertain about performing this annual maintenance, hire a professional.

Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters, while usually very reliable, can have problems at times. They include:

  • No hot water
  • Rotten egg odor
  • Water leakage
  • Inadequate hot water
  • Rust colored water
  • Popping noise, rumbling or whining
  • Leaks and corrosion

Some Fixes
If you have no hot water, you can get out your manual for the unit and follow the instructions to check the pilot light or follow other troubleshooting advice from the manufacturer for your unit. You may need to replace the thermocouple. Also check for blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. If your water heater is blowing fuses, call a professional.

If you have inadequate hot water, you may need to have a larger one installed. If you are experiencing some of the other problems above, and/or your water heater is over 10 years old, you may need to install a new hot water heater.

If you decide to troubleshoot any of the problems yourself, rather than call a professional, prepare safely by:

  • For electric hot water heaters: Turn off power to an electric water heater
  • For gas hot water heaters: Turn gas pilot control valve to PILOT setting on gas heaters
  • Shut off water supply to the unit either type of unit
  • Open the nearest hot water faucet and attach a hose to the drain valve


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