You know the feeling. You turn on the shower and wait for it to get warm, but it never does. And you may have even gone to the utility room thinking it's just the pilot light, but as soon as you turn on the light, you see a stream of water coming from underneath your water heater. Without doing your water heater maintenance, this kind of scenario is inevitable. But beyond avoiding the nightmare scenario, getting a regular water heater tune-up still has some significant benefits.
Three Main Benefits of Routine Water Heater Maintenance
Majorly Extends the Life of Your Water Heater
The average life of a water heater is 8 -12 years without maintenance. But it can be much lower depending on factors like build quality and water hardness. A water heater that undergoes regular maintenance could see an effective life extension of five years or more, where as a unit that is never serviced may not even make it to the 8-year mark.This is especially true in areas where hard water is extra corrosive on the internal components of your unit.
Water Will Heat Up Faster and Stay Hot Longer
If a water heater is not maintained correctly, it will start to deteriorate from the inside out. As sediment falls to the bottom of the tank, it makes it more difficult for the unit to heat the water and maintain the temperature. Imagine turning on your stove top, then placing a marble slab over it, and placing your pan on the slab. The heat has to make it through the slab to get to the pan, so even if it does heat up, it will take much longer. This is essentially what happens when too much sediment builds up and creates a barrier between the heater and the water.
Utility Bills Are Significantly Lowered
If your water heater isn't working at peak efficiency, your utility bills will start to crawl up every month. You likely won't notice that they are growing at first, but you will notice when they take a noticeable dive after water heater maintenance. As sediment builds up in your tank and other parts of your water heater stop working the way they should, your heater needs more water and fuel to supply hot water to the house. Routine maintenance both removes sediment and ensures all the components in your tank are working properly so it works at maximum efficiency. This means that you'll have more hot water on hand, and the water will heat quicker, using less energy and fewer dollars throughout the process.
Water Heater Maintenance
Gas and electric water heaters have different ways of achieving the same goal, so their maintenance is a little different, but they both have the anode rod. This small rod attracts molecules in water that like to eat your other components. While the anode rod prevents your tank from rusting, it does corrode over time, which creates sediment on the bottom of your tank, and if it erodes completely, the particles in your water that cause corrosion will move onto your water tank, so the anode rod needs to be replaced once every five years.
Gas Water Heaters
The first step to regular water heater maintenance is to flush the tank. Most tanks have an easy-to-reach release valve which allows you to empty the water and, hopefully, a lot of the sediment build up out of the tank. Next, checking the burners that heat the tank is essential to ensure they are working correctly. Then, the gas intake valves should be inspected to ensure that they are structurally sound and that gas is getting to the unit without trouble. Lastly, the thermocouple (a safety feature of gas heaters) will need to be inspected to ensure that it doesn't need to be replaced.
Electric Water Heaters
The most crucial step for both heating systems is to drain the tank to get as much build-up removed as possible. The main component of an electric water heater is the electric heating element which heats the water from the inside. This should be inspected to ensure it is working correctly and hasn't eroded.
What Should Homeowners Do?
Water heater maintenance can be a little dangerous, and it gets more technical as technology improves, so it is best to have a professional do your water heater maintenance. Aside from scheduling regular maintenance, the best thing a homeowner can do to be proactive is to regularly check under the water heater for any leaks and call a professional as soon as possible if they see water.
You need to check your water heater's maintenance due date and lifespan to see if it needs to be checked. Not scheduling water heater maintenance will drastically reduce the lifespan of your water heater while decreasing its effectiveness. Call us today to get your water heater maintenance scheduled!