Appliance Tips: Extending The Life Of Your Water Heater

This article provides some easy to do tips on how to extend the life of your water heater. It also provides step by step instruction.

The life expectancy of a water heater is around 5-10 years. Most people don't know that there are some simple things they can do to extend the life of their water heater. The cost of replacing a water heater could run into the hundreds of dollars, and that would cover the cost of a new water heater and for the installation.

Sediment build up, rust and corrosion are the main causes for a water heater to break down. The water heater being constantly exposed to hot water causes this. Listed below are a few things any homeowner can do to help extend the life of their water heater.

Installing a water heater blanket will help hold the heat in the water heater. This will help keep the water heater from having to constantly kick on and heat up the water. This will help with the wear and tear of the water heater, and it will also help with the electric bill. Also turning down the thermostat can help, because a high temperature also damages the water heater.

Drain the tank annually to remove any sediment that may have built up inside the water heater. Sediment build up makes the water heater work harder than it has to, so therefore causing the water heater to break down sooner. Below are the steps on how to do this:

1. Turn off the power to the water heater. If it is electric turn it off at the breaker box, and if it is gas you can do this with it still on, just turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting, but be sure to only empty ¾ of the water heater. If this is the first time emptying the water heater it is advised to empty it all the way, in this case the gas needs to be turned off entirely, both at the water heater and at the shutoff on the gas line, but be sure you know how to relight the gas pilot. The local gas company can come into the home and show how this is done.

2. Next connect a garden hose to the chain valve.

3. Then turn off the cold water supply.

4. Inside the house open up one of the hot water faucets, doing this will help to prevent a vacuum from forming in the lines.

5. Open the chain valve to drain the hot water out. Remember the water will be hot, so make sure to keep the hose away from anything that will be damaged by the hot water. Be sure to use a hose or a bucket that can withhold the hot water and will not melt.

6. When the water stops flowing out the far end of the hose you will want to turn the cold water supply back on. This will help flush out the remaining sediment by loosening it up and blasting it out.

7. When the water starts to run clear at the end of the hose this means all the sediment has been drained. Now turn off the chain valve.

8. Turn the hot water faucet inside the house back of, and then turn the power supply back on.

Depending on the quality of the water, and how much sediment is in the water, will determine how often the water heater should be drained. It is probably safe to say every one to two years is how often the water heater should be flushed. This is a very inexpensive and simple thing to do to keep a water heater running and working longer.

Finally a good way to help extend the life of a water heater is to replace the anode rod every four years. This rod helps the water heater by corroding and rusting first, and once dissolved the water heater will start the corrosion process. Below are the steps to follow when replacing the anode rod:

1. Follow steps one through five for draining the sediment in the water heater. But be sure to only empty a little bit of water, a fourth of the tank should be fine.

2. Then loosen the old rod by undoing the hexagonal fitting on the top of the water heater. (It will make this process easier if the right tool is on hand, which can be found at any home improvement store along with the new anode rod.) Then lift the rod out.

3. Wrap the threads of the new anode rod with Teflon tape for better setting.

4. Then insert the rod into the tank and tighten with the wrench. If there is limited space above the water heater, there are bendable anode rods available eliminating this problem.

The local plumber is also a good resource on how to extend the life of a water heater. These suggestions are both inexpensive and not very time consuming, and can save a lot of money in the long run.

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