How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Water Heater with Regular Service

How to Extend the Lifespan of Your Water Heater with Regular Service

Water heaters will usually last for anywhere from eight to 20 years or more depending on what type they are. Gas and electric tank water heaters usually have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years whereas tankless units typically last for at least 20 years. While what type of water heater you have will impact how long it lasts, an equally important factor is whether your water heater is properly maintained.

Maintaining Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters generally need to be professionally maintained once or twice a year. If not, the lifespan of the water heater will likely be shortened by at least a few years. There is also a higher chance the tank will corrode and may suddenly rupture and cause a major flood if the water heater isn’t inspected and maintained regularly.

Flushing the Water Heater Tank

One of the most important tasks when maintaining a gas or electric tank water heater is draining and flushing the tank. This is something that needs to be done at least yearly, but you’re better off having it done twice a year if your home has hard water.

Inspecting the Anode Rod

Another essential task when maintaining any type of tank water heater is to inspect the anode rod inside the tank. The purpose of the anode rod is to stop the minerals in the water from reacting with the steel tank and causing it to corrode. The rod is basically just a long steel cable that is coated with zinc, magnesium, or aluminum. All three of these metals are much more reactive than steel, which means that the minerals in the water react with the metal coating on the anode rod so that it corrodes instead of the tank corroding.

Cleaning the Gas Burner

The burner on a gas water heater tends to get dirty over time and often becomes coated with soot, rust, etc. If the burner is dirty, it can prevent the gas from fully combusting and lead to much less heat being produced. This results in the unit working less efficiently, which means it suffers more wear and tear that can shorten its lifespan. Having the burner cleaned annually will help your water heater to work more efficiently and should allow it to last at least a bit longer.

Inspecting the Exhaust Flue

Another important task when maintaining a gas water heater is to inspect the exhaust flue and make sure that the unit is venting properly. Any issue with the exhaust flue that prevents the water heater from venting correctly is a serious safety hazard. It could result in combustion fumes and potentially carbon monoxide escaping into your house instead of flowing directly outside.

Testing the Electric Heating Elements

Most electric water heaters have two electric heating elements. These elements can be prone to wearing out over time, which means you may need to have one or both of them replaced at some point during the life of your water heater.

If one or both of the heating elements start to wear out, it will lead to less heat being produced and the water heater not working nearly as effectively as it should. This can shorten the lifespan of the water heater since it results in it running for more time each day.

Steps for Maintaining a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters require far less maintenance since they don’t have nearly as many components as tank water heaters. The most important task is to flush and descale the unit to get rid of all of the limescale or mineral deposits that build up on the unit’s heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is what transfers the heat produced by the burner or electric heating elements to the water flowing through the unit. Limescale build-up basically insulates the heat exchanger so that the water heater heats less effectively. This can lead to the water never getting as hot as it should and will likely shorten the unit’s lifespan if it isn’t descaled regularly.

On a gas tankless water heater, the burner also needs to be cleaned regularly for the same reasons that the burner on a tank water heater does. Some tankless water heaters also have a sediment filter on the water inlet, and this also needs to occasionally be cleaned to ensure there is sufficient water flow.

Alps Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. has been providing expert services to customers throughout the Anaheim area for more than 30 years. We specialize in installing and maintaining tank and tankless water heaters, and we’re also the area’s top choice for all types of heating and air conditioning services. To schedule an appointment to get your water heater maintained or for any other service, contact us today.