5 Important Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Prolong the Life of Your Water Heater

Many people don’t think too much about their water heater. It works when they move in, and they expect it to continue working forever. But just lighting the pilot light isn’t going to ensure your heater will always work. There’s a very good possibility that it will break sometime during its lifetime and you can help avoid that with proper maintenance.

To keep your water heater in good working condition, you can practice some annual maintenance that will prolong the life of your water heater. If you keep your water heater maintained, you can extend the lifetime, lower your energy bill, and keep the risks of leaks very low. Here are some great water heater maintenance tips:

What You’ll Need

Keep a record of the brand, model, and serial number of your water heater. If you have to replace parts, this information will be vital to purchase the correct parts. You should also know the following about your water heater:

  • Is your water heater tankless, or a storage tank water heater?
  • What is the gallon capacity?
  • What is the age of your water heater?
  • How is your water heater powered? Gas, electric or propane?
  • Is your water heater under warranty?

It is very important that you know all of this information for proper water heater maintenance.

Know the Location

In order to maintain your water heater make sure you know where it is located. If your home is big enough to have more than one water heater, know the location of both water heaters.

If there is an emergency, make sure you know how to turn off the water and power source to your water heater in case there is a leak, smell of gas or burning, etc. Most water heaters have a disconnect switch or a gas valve close to the water heater. If your water heater is gas, you should also know the location of your gas main shut-off or the breaker if your heater is electric.

If you need help finding these switches, valves, or water heaters, contact a professional to show you!

Keep it Clean

Keep the area around your water heater clear. A gas unit needs a good oxygen supply to burn the gas to power your unit. If the unit is crowded it can lessen the efficiency or cause damage to the burner chamber and even cause carbon monoxide leaks.

Also, you might not see if the unit starts to leak. In addition, if the area around the unit is clear, you can keep any water damage of personal items to a minimum.

Drain or Flush

Drain or flush your water heater at least once a year using the drain valve. You can use either a 5-gallon bucket or run a garden hose to a place where the water can drain without causing damage. Because the drained water will be hot, do not drain onto plants or lawn to avoid burning your plants.

If you notice a lot of debris or sediment, then a full flush is recommended. The drain valve will be open long enough to drain the entire unit. To perform a full flush, turn the temperature down, completely drain the tank and then turn the water back on. Let the unit continue to drain to help any lingering sediment or debris. Once, you’ve drained the unit; turn the temperature back to the desired setting.

If you have any questions or concerns, contact a professional and they will help you learn how to flush a water heater.


You should inspect your water heater frequently. Check for leaks, from the top to the bottom. You will want to look for heavy corrosion on the valves and pipes. For gas units, make sure the draft hood is placed properly to allow a few inches of space between the tank and where it connects to the vent. Also check around the thermostat.

If you noticed any black residue, charred metal or soot you are having combustion problems and will need to have the unit serviced by a professional. Check for any sign of leaks, rust streaks or residue around the panels covering the electrical components.

When you perform a yearly tune up or maintenance, you can prolong the life of your water heater. You also won’t be surprised if the unit breaks, since you’ll have inspected the unit yearly. It is always smart to contact a professional and get helpful tips and tricks when performing these tasks! We hope you have enjoyed these water heater maintenance tips! Thanks for reading.