How Do I Care for My Water Heater?

A simple water heater maintenance routine can do more than help you avoid unexpected cold showers. It can also help you improve your household energy efficiency and extend the life of your water heater. Follow our water heater maintenance guide to get the most out of your equipment.

Checking the Pressure Release Valve

Your water heater's pressure release valve is a critical piece of safety equipment. When pressure builds up inside the tank, the pressure release valve opens to relieve that pressure and avoid an explosion.

To ensure proper water heater safety, this valve should be checked at least twice per year. It's a simple test:

If it snaps closed, it's working. If the valve stays open, it should be replaced.

Flushing the Tank

Sediment can build up inside the water heater tank. If this isn't flushed out periodically, it impairs efficiency and can eventually lead to bigger problems and repairs. Fortunately, flushing the tank is a fairly simple water heater maintenance task:

Preventing Corrosion

Your water heater likely has a component called an anode rod, which helps prevent rust from forming inside the tank. This rod is usually attached to a screw knob or hex nut on top of the tank; unscrew the end to pull out the rod and examine it.

Anode rods wear away over time, and if yours is less than half an inch thick, it's time to replace it.

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