Inspect Your Water Heater

Inspecting your water heater regularly is a very important, but often over-looked home maintenance step. Water heaters typically last for 8-13 years, and if your water heater is over 10 years old, inspecting it at least annually is very important.

Before You Start

  1. Have a bucket, hose, gloves, goggles, and protective clothing ready. Protect yourself from burns!
  2. Know where your Temperature/Pressure valve is located.
  3. Know where your cold water inlet is located.
  4. Know where the electric or gas shut off is located.

The Basics:

  1. Do a visual inspection of your water heater.
  2. Are there any leaks? Look under the heater where the drip collection pan is (for raised water heaters.) If your water heater is on the floor look around the bottom area. Do you notice any sediment? Any standing water?
  3. Look under and around the Temperature/Pressure relief valve. Any leaks? Corrosion?Obstructions?
  4. Check the pipes leading in and out of the water heater. Again, any leaks? Rust?Corrosion?
  5. For electric water heaters: Check the heating element.
  6. For gas water heaters: check the venting system. Is there any damage to the vent piping? Any obstructions? Make sure anything flammable or corrosive is away from the vent system to prevent fires. Also, check the pilot light. A weak flame, split flame, or a fully yellow flame means that your pilot light needs to be repaired or adjusted.
  7. Listen: Are there any strange noises coming from your tank? Noises such as whistling or crackling?

The Bigger Stuff:

  1. Turn off the electricity or gas to the heater before you start.
  2. Check the Anode Rod – The Anode Rod is your water heater’s defense against rust and corrosion. If you have hard water, checking them more often may be in order. The condition of the anode rod can tell you if your tank has corrosion occurring inside.
  3. Drain and flush Tank. ┬áSediment can collect in the bottom of the tank, which can shorten the life of your water heater.Draining Your Water Heater: How-To Did you know that draining your water heater occasionally can extend its life? It’s an often overlooked home maintenance step, but one that can save you costly repairs. Draining Your Water Heater Over time, sediment collects in the bottom of your water heater. Here are the steps to drain it and help keep it in perfect working order for as long as possible: Turn off the power or gas to the appliance. Turn off the cold water supply (that feeds the water to the tank.) Attach a hose to the drain valve near the bottom of the tank. Turn the valve to open it, and direct the water into a drain. Plan ahead for this step by making sure that you have a way to drain the water. Turn the water back on for a minute or two to flush out any sediment remaining in the tank. Close the drain valve, open the cold water supply to fill the water heater back up. Relight the pilot light or flip the power back on. This is a perfect weekend project that won’t take very long, but has the potential to save you money and headaches in the future.
  4. Inspect the Temperature/Relief Valve If the T/P valve ever discharges boiling water or steam, shut off your water heater immediately and give us a call. This is a safety problem.- Be sure the electricity/gas is shut off.- Shut off the cold water inlet
    – Position the bucket to catch run off
    – Pull the trip lever on the valve. You should hear a slight hissing noise of air escaping or see some water vapor exit. If this does not happen, the valve likely needs replacing.


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