A water heater can last for years when properly cared for, which is a good thing since it can be a major expense to replace the heater. The following are three ways you can further help extend the life of the water heater by performing timely maintenance or necessary repairs:
#1: Put a blanket on it
A water heater blanket is designed to minimize heat loss from the water heater. Most people add these in an attempt to lower their energy usage since it won't take as much electricity to keep the water in the heater warm. These blankets also help extend the life of your water heater. The less heat loss from your water heater, the less work the heating elements have to do to keep the water in the tank warm, which means the elements will wear out more slowly. You can't use any blanket – invest in a blanket specifically made for water heaters. These are then cut to fit and taped in place using foil-backed HVAC tape.
#2: Flush the interior
Minerals in the water separate in the heated, steamy conditions inside your water heater tank. These elements then build up on the inside of the tank, where they can lower the capacity of your heater or cover important sensors or heating elements so they don't work properly. Flushing the tank once a year helps remove this mineral buildup. The water is turned off to the tank and then the old water is drained before fresh water is flushed through to remove any remaining mineral flakes. Finally, the valves are closed and the tank is returned to regular operation.
#3: Repair instead of replacing
One of the main issues with a tank is that a heating element goes out. Many people then choose to replace the heater, but this is actually a simple repair. Many hot water heaters are equipped with multiple elements, so you may notice a problem before the last element blows – for example, the water may not get as hot or it may take longer to heat. Having the elements replaced promptly solves this problem. You can also have your repair tech install a new anode rod at the same time they replace the elements. These are sacrificial metal rods made of magnesium, which attracts the corrosive elements in the water so they don't affect the tank. Replacing this rod can help prolong your tank's life.
For more help, contact a water heater service in your area, like Clearwater Plumbing.