The water heater is amongst the most indispensable equipment in our homes. It can last for as long as ten years or more if maintained properly. You can save on the expense of repairing your heater by undertaking some cost-effective maintenance as a routine. You don’t even have to be a seasoned plumber to do such basic water heater maintenance. Here’s some useful advice on how to maintain your water heater in good working condition.
Dealing with Sediment and Mineral Build-up
Sediment and minerals like sulphates, iron, and magnesium can accumulate with time, so the bottom of your water heater tank needs cleaning from time to time. To do this, drain the tank and turn off the water supply. A brush, a pair of pliers and a garden hose is all you need to do the scrubbing of the bottom of your water heater tank. Once you’re done with that, fill the tank up with water by turning on the water supply valve and flush it out using the hose. Do this a few times till you see that the water flowing out is free of sediment. This is a recommended alternative to using strong cleaning agents.
It’s a good idea to clean your water heater tank once every year and follow up with flushing of water in and out every 3 months. If you get mostly hard water in your supply, then you may have to do the sediment clean up more frequently. Alternately, you can control sediment build-up by using lye. But exercise caution using lye as it is a highly flammable substance.
Check the Anode Rod Every Once in a While
Anode rods are mostly of the same length as the heater itself and you should check them regularly to see that they are not corroding. You may not be able to pull the entire rod out of the heater, but it’s usually sufficient to inspect the top to make sure it is free of flaking and that the core wire is intact. If it isn’t, you should consider replacing the anode rod. While choosing a replacement, it is recommended that you buy an anode rod that is slightly taller than your water heater and if required, saw it off to the required height before installing it.
Some water heater models come with longer warranty periods, primarily because the manufacturer installs a second anode rod. In these heaters, there is one anode rod on top of the tank and another is placed at the hot water outlet. Even if you have only one rod in your heater model, you can install another at the time of heater service. This simple measure is far more effective in extending the life of your water heater than going in for a replacement rod.
Dealing with Bad Smells
On some occasions, you may find a bad odour coming from the water in your tank. You can easily deal with this when carrying out the flushing routine. Add about a gallon of bleach and fill the tank up with cold water. Allow it to sit for a while to kill the bacteria causing the foul smell. Now completely flush out the bleach by first running hot water and then cold water successively through the water heater equipment.