How to Maximize the Life of Your Water Heater

water heater

Your water heater is the work horse of your home. It works hard to supply the water demands of your whole family, day in and day out. This is why it’s important to put some regular maintenance into it. Not only does this ensure your water heater works properly each day, it also extends its lifespan so you get more value for your money.

Not sure what maintenance chores to do? Check out our water heater maintenance checklist to prolong the life of your unit. Always wear the proper safety gear, as water heaters contain very hot water and steam. It’s safest to hire a licensed water heater contractor in Austin to handle this for you.

With the right level of maintenance, your water heater can last between eight and 12 years, says Bob Vila.

1.    Check the Pressure Valve

Your water heater comes with a safety feature known as the temperature pressure relief valve, which will open if too much heat or pressure begins to build up. This prevents damage from occurring to the unit or could also prevent an explosion.

A malfunctioning valve occurs when there is a buildup of sediment or residue that blocks the opening. To check the valve, switch off the electricity or gas on the water heater, then close and open the valve several times. Check the water flow coming out of the drainpipe, as a valve that’s properly functioning releases water when it’s open.

If you don’t see water flow, you will need a new valve.

2. Hot Water Heater Maintenance Flush

Sediment builds up over time in your water heater’s tank, particularly with hard water. If you let those particles sit at the tank’s bottom, your unit will have to work overtime to heat up the water. On top of that, the sediment corrodes the walls, which will cause leaking down the line.

When you perform a hot water heater maintenance flush annually, you can remove all that sediment and start fresh. First, shut off the gas or electricity, then attach a garden hose to the drain valve. You will want to direct the hose somewhere outside, but take caution as the water will be hot.

Turn off the cold water supply, running a hot water faucet in the house. Open up the drain valve so the tank can empty. You’ll see some gooey stuff come out first, then it will slowly clear. Once it’s all drained out, close the drain valve, filling the tank partially with cold water. Drain again. Repeat until the water runs clear.

3. Suggested Water Heater Maintenance Schedule

It’s important to follow a regular water heater maintenance schedule such as this one:

  • Test the temperature relief valve: once annually
  • Flush the water heater: every four months
  • Clean the tank: once annually
  • Check the burner on gas water heaters: once annually

The most important part is to research and hire a trustworthy plumber who can handle these maintenance tasks as well as any repairs that may need doing.

Contact L&P Plumbing


To book your appointment for water heater maintenance, repair or installation, call us today at 512-468-9030 for a free quote.