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5 Tips for Water Heater Maintenance

Updated on January 13, 2017

Until something happens, most of us never give a thought to our home’s water heater. In spite of that, we expect them to have warm water for baths, clean clothes, and sparkling pans and pots. So, to ensure that your water heater is always ready when you are, there are a number of actions you can take to keep this most important appliance in great working order.

  • While it may sound strange, be sure you know where your water heater is located. This is often in your garage, though it could be under the house or in the basement. You should have clear access to it, so be sure that nothing is stored in front of it.
  • Know what type of water heater it is. They are typically either propane, natural gas or electric, but could also be a tankless. You should also be sure to write down the model number and serial number, along with the information on the size of the tank. This information will help should you need to take advantage of the warranty, and will likely be in the first of any questions a plumber may ask.
  • Know how to turn off the water. Should you need to deal with an emergency or just want to make some adjustments to the water heater, you need to know how and where to turn off the water. In most cases, the turn off valve is located above the water heater on the cold side of the piping. Be sure to have any tools you need to turn off the valve in an easily accessible location.
  • At least once a year, drain a few gallons of water out of the heater via the drain valve. You can do this by placing either a water hose or a 5-gallon bucket and run it to a place where the4 hot water cannot cause damage. Should you notice a great deal of sediment or trash, then it is wise to do a full unit flush by draining the entire tank. Then turn the water back on while the drain is open then let the water run for a few minutes to clean things out. Once that has been done, and the tank has been refilled, turn the thermostat to the desired setting (for the most efficiency, it should be no higher than 120 degrees).
  • When draining the tank to remove sediment, it is also a good time to do a basic inspection to make sure all the parts and pieces are in proper working order. Watch for any black residue, soot, or charred metals, be sure there isn’t any corrosion, check to see that the draft hood is properly in place and be sure there is several inches of space between the tank and where it connects to the vent.

By taking care of your water heater now, you can count on it to work for you for many years to come. If you have any questions about your water heater or plumbing system, be sure to talk to a local plumber or home maintenance team. After all, they want you to have a home system you can count on.

Many websites provide additional information on the topic of water heaters. One such site worth visiting is

Janet Slagell independently authors articles for, Inc. for search engine marketing. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those solely of the author, and not of any other person, company, or organization. No guarantee or warranty, express or implied, is made regarding the accuracy, fitness, or use of the content herein.


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