How to Make Your Water Heater Last Longer

March 05, 2019

We often get asked, “How do I make my water heater last longer?

Luckily for you, there’s a simple answer to this question: annual maintenance by a professional.

Annual maintenance keeps the components of your water heater working correctly (and safely), helping it last up to its potential lifespan, 10–15 years.  

Hot water heater maintenance should be performed by a professional, who will:

  • Flush your water heater

  • Check (and probably replace) your anode rod

  • Diagnose any other issues

Below we’ll discuss the importance of having a professional conduct annual maintenance as well as what an annual water heater maintenance entails.

Time for a professional tune-up? We’ve got you covered.

Importance of a professional check up

If you want to extend the life of your water heater (and the life of your warranty), you should have a professional come check your water heater at least once a year.

Investing in a professional check-up will save you money in the long run by:

  • Keeping your warranty valid: Most manufacturers require your water heater to have annual maintenance (by a pro) in order for your warranty to be considered valid.     

  • Finding problems before they turn into repairs: Think of an annual hot water heater check up like an annual doctor’s visit. One of the goals is to diagnose issues before they turn into larger ones… in the case of your water heater, before they turn into very expensive fixes or replacements.

  • Extending the life of your water heater: Water heaters can corrode over time as minerals in the water react with the steel lining of the tank. Maintenance extends the life of your tank because during a tune-up the plumber will take measures to fight corrosive minerals in the water (more on that below).

Now that we’ve discussed why you should have a professional maintain your water heater, let’s discuss what a checkup includes.

What a plumber does during an annual maintenance visit

The two main components of an annual checkup include:

  • Flushing the water heater

  • Checking the anode rod

Flushing the water heater

Our water supply contains minerals (like calcium and magnesium) that settle in the bottom of your tank. Over time, these minerals accumulate, causing something called sediment buildup. Flushing your water heater gets rid of this sediment buildup so the heating components can heat water properly.

Note: Areas with hard water (like Florida) are more likely to experience greater sediment buildup, which is why it’s very important to flush your tank every year.

While sediment buildup may sound harmless, it can cause many issues, including:

  • Expensive repairs

  • Overheating & tank damage

  • Heating element damage

  • Hot water shortage

  • Noise

  • Fluctuating water temperatures

  • Rising energy bills

Having a professional come and flush your water tank yearly decreases the chance that you will experience these issues.

Checking the anode rod

Most water tanks are made of steel and filled with water. Because of corrosive minerals in the water that fills your tank, the steel is eventually going to corrode. Your water heater was designed with a line of defense for this corrosion, the anode rod.

Anode rod: An anode rod is sometimes referred to as a “sacrificial rod,” and attracts corrosive elements to itself so they don’t corrode the inside of the tank.

If your anode rod is doing its job, it will eventually become corroded and will need to be replaced. A professional will check your anode rod and determine how corroded it is and if it needs to be swapped for a new one.

Note: If you don’t replace your anode rod, corrosive elements will turn to your tank, corroding it instead.

Corroded anode rod and sediment buildup in bottom of the tank

Ready to schedule maintenance? Our Florida techs can help!

With 24/7 service, Red Cap’s techs are always here when you need us.

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