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Water Heater Maintenance 101: What Plumbing Customers Should Know

Water heaters play a crucial role in our daily lives, providing us with hot water for various activities. Whether it's taking a refreshing shower, washing dishes, or doing laundry, we rely heavily on this essential appliance. However, like any other appliance, water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. In this blog post, we will explore essential tips and tricks for water heater maintenance, empowering plumbing customers with the knowledge they need to keep their systems running smoothly.

Regular Inspection

Regular inspection of your water heater is vital to catch any potential issues before they turn into major problems. Start by examining the area around the unit for any signs of leaks or corrosion. Check the pressure relief valve to ensure it's functioning correctly. Additionally, keep an eye out for any unusual noises, as they may indicate sediment buildup inside the tank.

Flushing the Tank

Over time, sediment and minerals can accumulate at the bottom of the water heater tank, reducing its efficiency and potentially causing damage. Flushing the tank periodically helps remove these deposits, prolonging the life of your water heater. To flush the tank, turn off the power supply and cold water inlet valve. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and direct it to a suitable drainage area. Open the drain valve and let the water flow until it runs clear. Close the drain valve and turn on the cold water supply to refill the tank.

Testing the Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is a crucial safety component of your water heater. It helps prevent excessive pressure from building up inside the tank, which could lead to a potential explosion. To test the valve, place a bucket under the discharge pipe connected to the valve. Lift the valve's lever to release some water into the bucket. If water flows freely and stops when you release the lever, the valve is working correctly. If it doesn't release water or continues to leak afterward, it may be faulty and require replacement.


Insulating your water heater and its pipes can significantly improve its energy efficiency. By reducing heat loss, insulation helps the unit maintain water temperature more effectively, saving you money on your energy bills. Insulate the hot water pipes with foam sleeves or insulating tape, especially in unheated areas such as basements or garages. Additionally, consider using an insulating blanket specifically designed for water heaters to minimize heat loss from the tank itself.

Temperature Adjustment

Setting the temperature of your water heater to an appropriate level is essential for both safety and energy efficiency. The recommended temperature is around 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius). Higher temperatures not only pose a scalding hazard but also increase the risk of mineral buildup and corrosion. Adjust the temperature using the thermostat on your water heater or consult the user manual for specific instructions.

Anode Rod Inspection

The anode rod is a sacrificial component that helps protect the water heater tank from corrosion. Over time, the rod can deteriorate, and if left unchecked, corrosion can affect the tank itself. Inspect the anode rod annually and replace it if necessary. You can find the anode rod by removing the top cover of the water heater or consulting the user manual for guidance.

Professional Maintenance

While many maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners, it's essential to schedule professional maintenance for your water heater at least once a year. A licensed plumber will have the expertise and tools to thoroughly inspect your system, identify any potential issues, and perform any necessary repairs or adjustments. Professional maintenance can help extend the lifespan of your water heater and ensure it operates at its best.


Regular water heater maintenance is essential to ensure its optimal performance, energy efficiency, and longevity. By following the tips discussed in this blog post, you can proactively address common issues and extend the lifespan of your water heater. Remember, if you ever need professional assistance or have any questions, Budd's Plumbing is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your water heater maintenance service and keep your system in top shape.