How to Maintain a Water Heater?

A water heater is likely to last around 7 to 12 years depending on the proper maintenance. So, if you want the heater to work properly then maintenance is definitely required. Be it regularly, week, monthly or annually, it is essential that you examine every part of the heater.

However, we would never advise you to maintain the water heater if you don’t have any experience working with electricity or plumbing.  So, it’s better to go for it only if you think yourself someone experienced.

Coming back to the main point, the water heater requires some love and care since it will boost up the performance of the unit.

And if don’t know how to maintain a water heater, then this guide will help you out.

Services the Water Heater

If you plan to go through regular servicing, you won’t be needing an expert to do the task for you. With the help of a bucket and a screwdriver, you can conduct the servicing task of the water heater all by yourself. Prior to going for it, make sure you turn the power off for safety.

Electric: Turn the circuit breaker for the water heater in the breaker box.

Gas: Turn the pilot knob (that is situated on the thermostat or valve of the water heater) to the of point.

TPR Valve Test

Turn the power and the water supply valve off. Have a bucket placed below the pipe that is linked to the TPR (temperature pressure release) valve on the side or top of the water reservoir. The TPR valve opens only when the pressure of the tank is higher. Lift the tab of the valve to drain the tank. If the water keeps on flowing, then drain it halfway. With a pipe wrench, unscrew the old valve and set up the new one. It’s because frequent replacement of the TPR valve will help the water heater last longer.

Anode Rod Analysis

Place a hose to the drain cock of the reservoir and let a few amounts of water gallon drain. Now, put a 1 1/16 inches socket on the top of the anode rod’s hex head onto the heater.

Then unscrew the rod. If it is coated with calcium or is less than 0.5 inches thick, then you have to get a new one and wrap the threads with seal tape.

Then, place the new rod back to the reservoir and after that tighten it firmly.

Sediment Subtraction

Drain the water into the bucket from the tank and start gearing up to wash out all the sediments that have built up on the bottom of the tank. Removing the sediment will prevent rust and also enhance the energy efficiency of the heater.

The best will be only if you do a complete flush of the unit, although it will require the shutting down of the water heater.

However, you can also opt for a mini-flush since that will work well enough for washing out the sediments. It will take a fraction of your time and you can do it while running the water heater.

Have a bucket placed below the drain valve that is there close to the bottom of the tank.

Dial the valve counterclockwise so you can drain about 2-gallon of water into the bucket. While some drain valves comprise a short stem with a slot to use a screwdriver, some of them come with a handle. However, after you finish doing the mini flush, dial the valve clockwise to close it back.

You have to be very careful while doing the task since the water will be scalding hot and it can burn you up.

Temperature Adjustment Tasks

Unscrew the cover after you notice the temperature dial on the water tank’s side. Water heaters are basically preset to the temperature of 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If not, then it is better to adjust the temperature by dialing to 120-degree Fahrenheit using a screwdriver. You can expect to save around 5% of the energy bill for lowering every 10-degree temperature. If you are planning to be away from home for quite often, switch off the water heater and tune the thermostat down to its lowest setting.

However, you might also require to take out a small metal panel that covers the thermostat, if you want to lower the temperature.

For this, turn off the breaker at the breaker box and switch off the power of the heater.

Then, you have to take the access panel of the thermostat and set the temperature to your preferred setting.

After that, have the thermostat cover replaced and switch on the power again at the breaker box.

Mission – Pipe insulation

Make a purchase of a couple of self-sticking foam pipe insulation that comes in 3/8 inches thick and matches the diameter of the pipe. Slide the foam pad on the pipes as far as your hands can reach. Squeeze the insulation closed after peeling the tape. If the pipe is 6-inch long or lesser from the flue, cover it using the fiberglass pipe wrap. Make sure the wrap is 1-inch thick.

If you insulate the cold water pipe, it will help prevent the condensation during summertime.

Mission – Heater insulation

Cut the insulation blanket so it can fit the Temperature pressure release valve, the pipes and the temperature control that has been stuck out of the tank. Seal the cuts using tape after wrapping the side of the tank. Don’t cover the top of a gas or propane liquid heaters. But as for the electric ones, cap the heater using insulation that’ll come in an oversized circle. After that, wrap the edges with the tape securely to the tank’s side.


Maintaining the water heater is definitely not one’s cup of tea. But if you want to enjoy the privilege of warm water, then you have to show enough care.

As we have underlined every part and area of the water heater that you can perform maintenance on, it will be easier for you to do all the tasks.

But before that, don’t forget to judge your level of expertise!