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Extending The Life Of Your Water Heater

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Water heaters are designed to last for many years without maintenance; however, they may last for even longer if properly maintained. Knowing what you can do to help your water heater last can help you save money on water heater replacements.

How long do hot water heaters last?

Hot water heaters last approximately 10 to 13 years, depending on the quality of the water heater and the level of maintenance you perform on your appliance. 

What can you do to extend the life of your hot water heater?

You can extend the life of your water heater by performing periodic maintenance, including: 

  • Keep the thermostat at the recommended setting. Running the thermostat at a higher than necessary temperature can contribute to the wear and tear of the unit. The U.S. Department of energy recommends keeping the thermostat at 120 degrees or less to prevent corrosion and mineral buildup in the pipes.
  • Drain the sediment on a regular basis. Over time, sediment will build up in the bottom of your water heater, which can cause the heating elements in the unit to burnout. You can prevent this from happening by draining the sediment from the bottom of the water heater. Do this on an annual basis. To do this task, you'll start by turning off the water to the heater and opening a few hot water spigots in the house to prevent a vacuum from forming. Next, hook a hose up to the spigot at the bottom of the water heater. Open the spigot and allow the water in the bottom of the heater to drain until it runs clear. When you're finished, close the spigot, close the faucets in the house, open the cold water supply to your heater and turn the heater back on.
  • Check the pressure release valve. The temperature pressure relief valve, found on the side of the water heater, helps relieve pressure inside your hot water heater. The TPR valve can become clogged with mineral buildup over time. Check the valve annually at the same time that you drain the sediment in the bottom of the water heater. To do this, pull off the discharge pipe from the valve and then open the valve while holding a bucket underneath to catch the water. The valve should drain water into the bucket. If it doesn't, this is a sign the valve should be replaced. Contact any certified plumbers in your area to find someone to replace the spigot.

For more information about how you can maintain your hot water heater, or for help replacing your current hot water heater, talk to a plumbing professional like Stephens Plumbing And Heating Inc in your area.