Warm water is a necessity in most homes, particularly during the cold months. You will need to ensure your water heater functions optimally throughout the season to keep the supply steady and avoid issues. Cleaning and maintaining your unit will help you attain these objectives.
Unfortunately, water heating systems don't last forever, but you can take measures to extend the unit's life. Some of these tips are shared below.
Keep Flushing Your Tank
After several months, you should drain some water from the tank into a bucket to check the condition of the water. If it appears to have lots of debris and dirt, you'll need to clean the entire water heating system. Allowing debris to accumulate for too long in the tank reduces the efficiency of the water heater, causing the energy bills to increase. So, make sure you flush the tank often to avoid efficiency issues.
Some of the latest water heaters have self-cleaning features for automatically removing sediment. If you own such a model, you will still need to flush the tank after a few years.
Examine the Anode Rod
Every water heater comes with an anode rod, a metal rod that prevents the tank from rusting. The rod attracts all minerals, like calcium, which can erode the tank lining. This way, the minerals don't get deposited in the tank and cause it to wear out fast. However, once the anode rod gets fully corroded, the tank material will be exposed to these minerals and start incurring irreversible damage.
Therefore, you'll need to inspect the condition of your anode rod yearly and replace it after a few years to prolong the life of the heater. Remember to turn off the power supply before inspecting the rod to prevent accidents. Also, drain some water from the tank to check for corrosion in the water sample. If you see a significant part of the core wire or a thick deposit layer, consider replacing it.
Get a Water Softener
If you reside in an area where the water's mineral content is exceptionally high, you should consider installing a water softener to lengthen the water heater's life. High mineral content hardens the water, meaning the water heating system will be exposed to lots of minerals. This will force you to change the anode rod regularly or risk cutting back the unit's life. Fortunately, installing a water softener will reduce the mineral content buildup risk, so get one soon.
Contact a local plumber to learn more.