Maintain Your Water Heater & Save Money

Maintain Your Water Heater & Save Money


A water heater is the one appliance that gets no respect — until it quits working. Silently, almost effortlessly doing its job behind scenes, your home’s water heater faithfully provides the hot water you need for showering, running the dishwasher, and for cleaning your clothes. Only when hot water is absent do many homeowners remember this important device.

Yet, like so many major appliances, a hot water heater needs to be maintained or failure is certain to occur. You can extend the life of your hot water heater by following a regular maintenance schedule, a fifteen minutes (or less) process that should be done one to three times each year.

How To Maintain Your Hot Water Heater

Sediment build up is one of the biggest contributors to hot water heater failure. In areas where hard water is prevalent, mineral build up can reduce its efficiency, hastening the break down process.

You can reduce sentiment build up by lowering the temperature of the hot water heater to a more manageable 120 degrees. True, your dishwasher requires hotter water, but modern units contain their own heaters to bring the water temperature up to the required level.

Step By Step Instructions

Before you drain the sediment out of your hot water heater, you’ll need to turn off the water supplying the heater at the cold air intake. Or, you can shut off the home’s main valve. Gas-fired heaters require that you turn the temperature control to off while cutting off the supply of gas to the unit via the gas line. Electric heaters can be turned off right at your electrical panel.

Next, place a bucket under the drain and fill it up with water. Or, if you have a garden hose handy, attach the hose to the heater and drain it that way. With a bucket you’ll have to make several trips to dump out the water but with a hose you can drain the heater all the way at once. When the water turns clear, then you can close the valve, but you may need to turn on the supply valve for the cold water in order to clear out whatever sediment remains.

Once you are done, go ahead and close the drain valve and turn off the hot water faucet. Reopen the cold water supply valve and fill up the tank. Turn on the power only after the tank has been replenished by flicking on the power at the electrical box or reigniting the pilot light.

Extend The Life Of Your Water Heater, Save Money

Regular care of your hot water heater will ensure that you receive regular service for many years. Neglecting the device and you could shorten its lifespan and experience failure at the most inopportune time — like in the middle of your shower!


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Categories: Home Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".