Tips to Prolong the Life of a Water Heater

20 February 2018,

A water heater should last from 8 to 12 years.  Most water tanks in the market are steel lined with porcelain or glass which can deteriorate from oxidation over time. A water tank may start to leak, sometimes slowly and at other times, drastically.

It is important to know where the water shutoff valve is located.

Tankless (on demand) water heaters can last longer than conventional water heaters if properly maintained.

Because a damaged water heater is a nuisance and costs money, it is a good idea to know how to prolong the life of a water heater.



6 Useful Tips to Extend your Water Heater’s Life

Your water heater can work for many years without problem. Thus, it can be easy to take it for granted.

Just a few basic maintenance and troubleshooting steps periodically can help extend your water heater’s life and ensure your safety.

  1. Check the pressure relief valve by placing a bucket under the discharge pipe. Lift the lever gently to test. If the pressure in the tank is too high, excessive pressure can cause a tank to explode. If you lift the lever and no water is released, get a valve replacement from hardware stores.

    A valve that is old and never tested may leak after testing. In that case, you should replace the valve.

    To replace the valve, turn off the water, drain the tank, remove the screw of the discharge pipe and the existing valve. You should secure the threads of the replacement valve with sealant tape then screw in.

  2. Add another anode rod. If you install another anode rod, it can significantly extend the water heater’s life. Made of magnesium or aluminum, an anode rod prevents corrosion.
  3. Clean and flush out the tank. Tanks that are several years old must be flushed out once a year to avoid build-up of sediment and increase the water tank’s efficiency. Newer models can be self-cleaning. You can use a garden hose to drain the water heater.
  4. Install an expansion tank on a closed system to prolong the life of your water heater. When water heats, it expands by around 2% which means a 50-gallon tank produces an additional gallon. With a closed system (a valve prevents water back flow into the water main), the additional water volume has no place to go and could cause water pressure to quickly increase or decrease. This can result to damage and premature failure of a water heater.
  5. Install a Pressure Regulating Valve (PRV) for a longer-lasting water tank. If water pressure is very high, it can damage appliances and can cause premature failure of a water heater. If you install a PRV, it will reduce system pressure and the overall wear and tear on appliances.  If you install a PRV, it is advisable to also install an expansion tank.
  6. If the water in your area has high mineral content, it may be a good idea to install water softeners. Scaling results from precipitation of minerals which are deposited on to the surface of appliances. Installing water softeners can reduce overall wear and tear of appliances and help extend the life of your water heater.


Most Common Signs of Water Heater Trouble

A water heater is the most expensive component of the plumbing system in your home.  With early diagnosis and troubleshooting, you can fix water heater problems that can help reduce costly repairs.

The worst thing that could happen is if your water heater leaks.  When this happens, your tank needs replacement because there is no other solution to a leaking water heater.


Sediment Build-Up

Too much sediment in a water heater will cause problems, including the smell of rotten egg around a water heater, low water amount due to sediment taking up space in the tank, and noises from the sediment burning in the heating mechanism.


Water Temperature Problems

A common reason why water doesn’t heat enough is when the tank’s thermostat changed.  You can adjust the temperature by a few degrees to get the tank working properly again.

If no hot water is available, this means the heating element (electric or gas thermocouple) may not be working. You can replace the heating element to fix a hot water supply problem.

If water is too hot, the temperature may be set too high. Adjust the thermostat as needed. This is also recommended with seasons changing from cold to warm and vice-versa.

If this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the thermostat or there could be a wiring issue. It is best to contact a professional for wiring issues.


Unusual Noises

Noises from a water heater tank is most likely sounds of sediment burning or the heating element could be burning out and getting noisier due to deterioration.

Because a water heater is usually hidden from plain sight, most people don’t think much about it until a problem occurs. Make it a habit to check on your water heater periodically to avoid problems and extend the life of your water heater.


Water Recovery Taking Too Long

With electric water heaters, recovery time is longer than with gas models. But if it is taking longer than normal for hot water to recover, there could be a problem with the heating element or due to sediment build-up or other parts that need replacement.

If your household’s demand for hot water has increased, you may wish to consider getting a larger capacity tank or even a point of use water heater near a water source such as a shower.


Dirty or Rust-Colored Water

When water is rust-colored, it is a sign that the anode rod or the tank itself is corroded.  If left alone, the water heater will need to be replaced once the corrosion develops further or when the tank starts to leak.  If the water is dirty or discolored, it could be due to build-up of scale on the heating element or because of sediments that have made their way into the hot water outlet.


Foul-Smelling Water

Stinky water may be due to bacteria in the tank. Regular flushing of the water heater will clean the tank. Increasing the thermometer temperature to 140 degrees can kill bacteria.


Compare Water Heater Replacement Quotes in Quebec

If it is really time to replace your water heater, there is no time to waste. But you can save on costs of water heater replacement if you compare free quotes from qualified and experienced plumbers.

You can choose from a wide range of water heaters for residential or commercial use to suit your needs and your budget.

For plumbing repairs, you can also request for free quotes whether it is an emergency or not. Expert plumbers in our network are available 24/7 for the speedy resolution of your water heater or plumbing issues.

An efficient water heater is very important to the well-being of family members in your home.  Investing in the right water heater is necessary to ensure your comfort and safety and to get the most value out of your investment.

Fill-out our quick online form now to get free quotes from the best plumbers anywhere in Quebec.


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