Water Heater Maintenance – A Step-By-Step Guide

Neglecting your water heater can be costly. Fortunately, most water heaters units will last 10-15 years with routine maintenance. A failing water heater may be a more significant issue than people realize, and a tank rupture or discharge can be catastrophic! Imagine if gallons of water leaked all over your new carpets while you were gone on vacation for a couple of weeks? The water would destroy your carpet and seep into the underlayment, causing mold in your home. Proper maintenance of your water heater will prevent such issues and ensure you get a long life from your water heater. Learn essential water heater maintenance tasks below.

Recommended Water Heater Maintenance Tasks

If you enjoy DIY projects for your home, maintaining your water heater may be something you can do yourself. If you would rather have a professional handle the job, call the professionals at H2o Plumbing. We’ll get the job done right the first time, and we are always careful to clean up after the work is complete. These are some essential regular water heater maintenance tasks.

Drain and Refill Your Water Heater Every Year

It’s recommended by water heater manufacturers to flush your water heater tank once per year. Draining and refilling your water heater is an essential maintenance task because sediment collects in the tank. This sediment is typically not harmful to you, but, over time, it compromises the health of your water heater. If enough sediment collects, your water heater will lose its efficiency, and you may have to replace it earlier than expected.


Make sure the area around the water heater is free and clear of items. Start by grabbing a five-gallon bucket and a few old towels. Then, turn off the power to your water heater. You’ll find the drain near the water heater’s base. Put the bucket directly under the drain and open the valve. The water and sediment draining into the bucket will probably be discolored. Usually, draining a few gallons is enough. However, if the water is still discolored after you’ve emptied several buckets full, you might have a more significant issue, it’s best to  schedule a call with the professionals at H2o for a closer look.

Check the Pressure Valve

Water heaters contain pressure, so a functioning pressure-release valve is a crucial safety feature. The pressure valve is generally located near the top of your water heater and has a pipe extending down from it.

To verify that the pressure relief valve works properly, locate the valve and place a bucket underneath the pipe. Then, slightly lift up on the valve – just enough to let a little bit of water out – then let the valve tab return to its original position. If no water comes out when the valve is opened, the valve will need to be replaced.

Inspect the Anode Rod

One of the most essential parts of your water heater is the anode rod. This metal rod has a steel core coated in either magnesium, zinc, or aluminum. Without an anode rod, simply filling a water heater with water for the first time would likely kick off a rapid corrosion process. With an anode rod, the magnesium, zinc, or aluminum coating surrounding the rod’s core will corrode well before the tank’s steel interior. So, periodically, checking your water heater’s anode rod is a great way to monitor how much time you may have before you need to purchase a replacement water heater.

To inspect your anode rod, using a wrench, unscrew the rod on the top of your water heater. Gently lift the rod out of the tank and look it over. Is it covered in calcium deposits? Check to see if the metal coating has deteriorated to less than a half-inch. If so, it’s time to replace the rod and slow the corrosion process. If the rod looks to be in good shape, screw it back onto the tank and recheck it next year.

Check for Leaks and Drips on an Ongoing Basis

Your water heater should have a metal catchment pan underneath it to catch any leaking water. You should regularly check that there is no water in the catchment tray. If there is, you have a leak and should call a professional plumber immediately.

If you’re not comfortable with these DIY tasks for your water heater, the H2o Pro’s can help. Our expert plumbers are always at your service and available to maintain, replace, or repair your water heater. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.

BoilerMate Installation and Service

An Amtrol Boilermate may be a good solution when an in-home or commercial plumbing system requires...

Pipe Repair Vancouver WA

H20 Plumbing Service and Repairs Is Dedicated to Providing the Highest Quality Plumbing Service at...

Leaky Faucet Vancouver WA

H20 Plumbing Service and Repairs Is Dedicated to Providing the Best Plumbing, Drain and Faucet...

Why PEX Piping is the Best Option for New Plumbing Projects

Have you heard the buzz about PEX piping and why it’s the best option for most new construction...

How To Get the Longest Life Out of Your Water Heater

Neglecting your water heater can be costly. Fortunately, most water heaters units will last 10-15...

Need help for your next project?

We can help with any size project, big or small and even offer 10% off for new customers so give us a call to see how we can help you.

Join the H2o Newsletter with Quarterly Giveaways

Receive special offers, news you can use, and exclusive discounts. Be sure to check your spam and/or promotions folder for your confirmation email. 

Thank you! Check your email. We'll keep you up to date.