It’s pretty safe to say that we all wish the appliances, systems, and devices in our homes would last forever. However, this is unfortunately not the reality of the situation. At some point or another, practically everything in your home will need to be replaced — including your hot water heater.
The lifespan of a water heater can vary depending on various factors, such as the specific model and how much hot water you use. At the same time, you can also take a few steps to ensure your unit enjoys a long and efficient life.
How do you make your water heater last longer? When it comes down to it, there are various ways to get more use out of your current system. If you’re ready to learn more, let’s discuss how to extend the life of your water heater.
Invest in Adequate Insulation
If you want to learn how to extend the life of your water heater, you’re probably hoping that there will be some quick and easy tips you can use. Fortunately, there are a few, such as insulating your steel water tank and water pipes. Sufficient insulation can increase your water heater’s energy efficiency, which can improve its performance and help you save money on your monthly bills. Not to mention, an energy-efficient unit is likely to have a longer lifespan in the long run.
Flush the Tank Regularly
In the simplest terms, a traditional water heater works by heating the water inside a storage tank. However, as cold water enters the system, it can contain various types of sediment and minerals that settle at the bottom of the tank and collect over time.
Unfortunately, this sediment can negatively affect your electric or gas water heater’s efficiency over time, which can lead to premature breakdown and the need for a replacement. The good news is that you can keep your unit running efficiently by flushing the water heater tank regularly.
Now, you might be wondering: how do you make your water heater last longer by flushing the tank? When the sediment collects at the bottom of the tank, it typically ends up covering the heating element. As a result, this heating element will have a hard time heating the water, as the sediment is getting in its way. This means that the water heater has to work twice as hard to do its job, and it wastes twice as much energy. This excessive energy consumption will translate into higher energy bills and excessive wear and tear for the water heater.
Steps to Flush a Water Heater Tank
Flushing a water heater is a fairly straightforward process. During this process, you’ll need to shut off the power and/or gas to the water heater, turn off the water supply going into the water heater, and turn on an indoor faucet all the way to the hot side so no cold water is coming out. It may take a moment to clear the lines. Next, connect a hose to the drain valve on the tank. This valve is located at the bottom of the tank. Once the open end of the hose has been directed into a floor drain or outdoors, you can turn the drain valve to flush out the water. Once the draining process is complete, turn off the indoor faucet
Of course, this water heater maintenance task is only applicable to traditional tank models. Tankless water heaters require the help of a professional.
Install a Water Softener
Does your water contain a large number of minerals? If so, installing a water softener can potentially help extend the life of your water heater. As we touched on above, minerals and sediment can take a significant toll on your water heater’s performance and efficiency. If you have hard water, installing a water softener can remove various minerals, including calcium, from your water supply.
Add an Expansion Tank
If you still want to know how to extend the life of your water heater, you might want to consider installing an expansion tank. As the name suggests, an expansion tank is a small tank that is specifically designed to handle excess water during thermal expansion.
This safety device can help prevent extra pressure from building up inside the tank. As a result, your water heater can enjoy a longer lifespan, as it won’t experience excessive wear and tear from the abnormally high pressure.
Inspect the T&P Valve
When talking about how to extend the life of your water heater, we also have to mention the importance of the T&P valve. This critical component, which is also sometimes called the “pressure relief valve” or “TPR valve,” is responsible for regulating the pressure inside the water heater tank. If the pressure gets too high, the T&P valve will release a small amount of water or steam to bring the pressure back down to a safe level.
It’s important to make sure that the T&P valve is working properly. This way, you can prevent excessive pressure from building up inside the tank and causing major problems.
Check the Anode Rod
We’ve discussed many steps you can take to keep your water heater in top shape. Nonetheless, you might still be looking for additional tips. So, how do you make your water heater last longer besides flushing the tank and regulating the pressure? By checking the anode rod, of course!
Anode rods are vital components that are responsible for sacrificing themselves in order to prevent damage to the water heater. This metal rod attracts minerals, such as calcium, to its surface. This way, the anode rod will corrode in place of the water heater tank.
If you want to protect your water heater and ensure no rust forms on the steel tank, it’s crucial that you replace the anode rod when it starts to corrode. These components typically need to be replaced every three to five years, so it’s recommended that you inspect them from time to time.
Schedule Maintenance With Faster Water Heater
So, how do you make your water heater last longer? As you can see, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. These tips are here to help you get the most out of your current water heater, but not all of them may apply to you and your individual situation. Nonetheless, regular maintenance is critical for all types of water heaters, whether you have a traditional storage tank or a tankless unit.
Now that you know how to extend the life of your water heater, don’t hesitate to call Fast Water Heater for all your maintenance, repair, and installation needs. If it’s time to replace your system, we can discuss your options and find the best solution. We also offer many other services, including leaking water heater repair, to prevent unwanted water damage in your home.
We have what it takes to maintain your water heater or provide you with an efficient upgrade. Contact us today to schedule your water heater replacement in Seattle, WA, or the surrounding areas! We’re proud to serve homeowners up and down the West Coast, including California and Oregon.