Today’s water heaters are built to offer 8-12 years of solid service. Choosing a quality, name brand water heater in the right capacity for your needs will help make sure your water heater is on the upper end of that range. If you try to save money by purchasing a cheaper or smaller water heater, you may end up paying back what you’ve "saved” in a much shorter service life for the unit.
As a homeowner, another thing you can do to extend the life of your water heater is to do proper maintenance.
Use a fiberglass jacket to insulate and improve the efficiency of older water heaters. This is usually unnecessary for newer units, which are already insulated for maximum efficiency.
Test the temperature-pressure release valve at least annually. Discharge it quickly a few times, and then keep an eye on the valve for leaks afterward.
Flush the water heater at least annually. Flushing removes debris and sediment that can build up in the bottom of your unit. Removing it can not only help your water heater run more efficiently, it can help it run more quietly. You can flush the water heater by hooking a garden hose to the drain valve, letting it run till the water is clear.
Check the anode rod every 3 - 5 years. Loosen and remove the hex head screw. If more than 6” of steel wire is exposed, replace it.
If your home has a gas water heater, set the thermostat to the "Vacation” setting when going on long trips. That will maintain the pilot light, without heating the water and potentially evaporating it from the unit.
A water heater is a big investment in your home. Make sure you get the maximum life possible from yours by choosing the right unit in the first place, and maintaining it properly. If you need help with your water heater, or any aspect of your home’s plumbing system, call Dauenhauer any hour. We’ll send out one of our friendly plumbing techs to lend a hand.