How Should I Maintain My Water Heater?
Like any major appliance, your storage-type water heater needs periodic TLC to run at its best. But what are the most important ways to care for your water heater? Here are three things you should do regularly to keep your water heater working at the top of its game.
- Flush your storage tank regularly—Over time, sediment (mineral deposit) builds at the bottom of the tank. Left untreated, this sediment will decrease efficiency, affect how well stored water retains its heat, and eventually even cause water heater failure. The good news is that you can prevent excess sediment build up by flushing your water heater tank regularly (twice a year or more). Here’s how:
- Locate the water heater drain valve—a brass or plastic valve at the bottom of the water heater
- The tip of the valve is threaded to match a standard-sized garden hose; attach one end of the hose to the water heater drain valve and put the other end near your basement drain or directly outside your home into the gutter or driveway.
- Open the water heater drain valve; the valve is often opened or closed with a flat head screwdriver. Water will flow through the hose, taking sediment with it. REMEMBER, THIS WATER WILL BE VERY HOT!
- Drain for about five minutes, then shut the valve and detach the hose.
- Check and change the anode rod—An anode rod is a simple device—usually a steel core wire surrounded with either aluminum, magnesium or zinc that sits inside the storage tank. Its job is an important one: under normal circumstances, water sitting inside a steel tank would corrode the tank quickly, but an anode rod draws the corrosion process to itself rather than the tank lining. The anode rod is often referred to as the “sacrificial rod” for this reason.
A typical anode rod will last about five years or so—less if you use a water softener. Once your anode rod is corroded, the tank lining will rot much faster! Since replacing an anode rod is a lot cheaper than replacing your tank, it’s best to keep an eye out. Checking your anode rod takes a few minutes—see your water heater owner’s manual for details or call us —we’ll be happy to do it for you!
- Get routine professional service—Like any other home comfort equipment, your water heater will run best when it’s professionally serviced regularly—usually once every two years, in the case of a water heater.
Of course, even if you take all these precautions, your propane water heater will eventually need replacement—typically about once every 10-12 years for a storage-type water heater. When that time comes, contact us. We’ll have a new high-efficiency propane water heater installed quickly and correctly, with no need for follow-up hassles!
For expert water heater installation in northern NJ, nobody beats the pros at Bolkema Fuel. Contact us today to learn more, or to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on an installation of a new high efficiency Bock water heater!