- Setting the Temperature – Generally, the default temperature setting on a water heater is 140 degrees Fahrenheit, however, this is unnecessary. Most households can easily get by with setting it to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only will this help improve the efficiency of the water heater and save on energy, it prevents scalding accidents, which have been known to occur at higher temperature settings.
- Check the Anode Rod – Most water heater tanks are steel with a thin glass lining to protect the metal from corrosion. Since the lining eventually cracks, tanks have a second line of defense against rust: a long metal "anode rod"' that attracts corrosive elements in the water. When the rod itself becomes so corroded that it can no longer do its job, the tank soon rusts out, leaks and needs replacement. However, if you replace your anode rod before it fails you can extend the life of your water heater.
- Flush the Tank – Have you flushed your water heater lately? This boring but important chore should be done at least once a year to remove sediment that accumulates on the bottom of the tank. Sediment sitting in the water heater displaces the water and greatly decreases the efficiency of the unit, which causes it to work harder and burn out faster. Removing this sediment often is especially important if you live in a hard-water area.
- Check the Expiration Date – Many people are unaware of the average life expectancy of their home water heaters. If your water heater is more than eight years old, it is time to keep a close eye on the unit and consider a replacement. You can determine the age of your unit by de-coding the serial number on the tank itself. Most manufacturers make it easy by incorporating the month and year it was built into the first 4 digits of the serial number. A lot of factors can go into how long your water heater will last, here in the Northwest we see them lasting anywhere from 8-20 years.
The life expectancy of the average household water heater is eight to twelve years. Performing a little routine maintenance on your water heater can help it last years longer, especially in areas with hard-water. In order to get the most out of your water heater, follow these tips and you will increase the longevity, efficiency and cleanliness of your water heater.
Springer Plumbing has been serving the Thurston County area for more than 20 years.