Preventative Water Heater Maintenance: Professional Checklist

A water heater is an essential appliance in modern homes that provides hot water for cleaning, laundry, bathing, and many other daily uses. Water heaters are an investment, and not something most people want to purchase more often than they have to. A tank water heater can last up to 12 years, and a tankless water heater can last up to 20 years when properly maintained. However, when homeowners choose to forego maintenance on their water heaters, the lifespan may significantly decrease. 

Water heaters require a flush at least once per year to help maintain optimal function. Some manufacturers even recommend flushing your water heater more frequently than that. Just like your vehicle requires routine maintenance, water heaters also need regular care to promote longevity and optimal performance. Stan’s recommends a water heater flush at least once per year. A regular water heater flush helps maintain optimal water pressure, energy efficiency, and helps prevents leaks and break downs. 

What does water heater maintenance consist of?

Water heater maintenance consists of flushing the unit, checking and changing the anode rod if needed, inspecting for rust or leaks, and testing the thermostat and valves. The flush is the most important step of water heater maintenance, and something you do not want to skip. Over time, sediment can build up in the water heater causing scaling inside the unit. The limescale buildup can cause rust, leaks and slow down the water heating process. Eventually, the buildup may cause the water heater to prematurely fail. 

An annual water heater flush helps remove the sediment and limescale that has built up. If you have a tank water heater, a licensed plumber will turn off power to the unit, drain the tank, and then run hot water through the unit while the drain valve is open to flush out the sediment. After the sediment has been cleared from the water heater, the plumber will check the anode rod and all valves once the tank has refilled. While it may sound like a simple process, this is only a general overview of how to flush a water heater and is a job best left to a licensed plumber. 

What if I have a tankless water heater?

The process for flushing a tankless water heater looks a little different than a flush for a tank water heater. The biggest difference is the tools needed for a tankless flush. If you are interested in attempting to flush your tankless water heater, you will need to invest in specialized equipment to properly flush the unit. Check out our blog How to Flush a Tankless Water Heater for more details. The overall concept is similar to a tank flush. Essentially, you are allowing water to flow through the unit for a certain amount of time to flush out the sediment and buildup. 

Benefits of water heater maintenance

As we have discussed, flushing your water heater is an important maintenance task that can extend the life of the unit and improve its efficiency. The sediment and limescale that builds up within the water heater can be damaging to the components inside. Keep reading for some of the top benefits of water heater maintenance. 

Extend the life of the unit

When sediment and limescale are left on the inside of a water heater, it can lead to corrosion and leaks. The damage caused is not always repairable and may result in the unit needing to be replaced. By simply flushing your water heater annually to remove the buildup, you are greatly increasing the chances of your water heater lasting 10 to 20 years, depending on whether it is tank or tankless. 

Warranty protection

Most warranties do not protect against failure due to scale buildup, which is a common cause of water heater failure. This is because manufacturers know that a water heater must be flushed to operate properly. When filing a claim, often times you will need proof that scaling is not the cause of failure. This makes annual water heater flushes very important for maintaining warranty. 

Improve performance of the water heater

When scale builds up in your water heater, it can interfere with the water heating process, especially when there is buildup on the heating element itself. You may start to notice less hot water throughout your home. This can sometimes be resolved with regular water heater flushes, but it can also be a sign that a repair is needed, or the unit is failing. When scale builds up and interferes with the heating process, it causes the unit to have to work even harder to heat water, which results in more energy usage and higher energy bills. 

Stan’s Plumbing Gold Service Club

The most efficient and cost-effective way to maintain your water heater is by joining Stan’s Gold Service Club for plumbing. You will receive an annual water heater flush along with 15% all repairs and priority service. As part of the water heater flush, we will also check the anode rod and order parts for you if needed. We will also perform an annual inspection of all household plumbing fixtures. This helps you identify small problems before they become bigger problems. As a Gold Service Club member, we will call you each year when it is time to schedule your water heater flush, so you don’t have to remember to keep up with your water heater maintenance. 

What does Stan’s Plumbing Inspection consist of?

  • Flush and service water heaters, and check anode rod
  • Camera inspection where appropriate
  • Check all faucets for proper operation, clean aerators
  • Check all angle stops and supply lines
  • Check garbage disposal for proper operation
  • Check all tubs/shower faucets and diverters for proper operation
  • Check all outdoor hose bibs
  • Check visible pipes for signs of corrosion
  • Check water softener operation (if applicable), or water hardness check
  • Check reverse osmosis system (if applicable)

Whether you have a tank or tankless water heater, Stan’s licensed, professional plumbers are trained to provide keep your water heater in tip top shape. Contact Stan’s to schedule your water heater flush and plumbing inspection in Austin today! 

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