Angie's How To Inspect and Maintain Your Water Heater

Date Published: Nov. 12, 2019

Difficulty:66%
Time: 15 Minutes

Up to 25 percent of the energy you use in your home is for heating your water. However, this number can rise quite a bit if you let your water heater fall into disrepair. It's a good idea to flush your water heater once a year (or at least every few years) to remove built-up gunk and make sure it's running as efficiently as possible.

1CHECK THE ANODE ROD

The anode rod is the water heater's defense mechanism against rust and corrosion and prevents premature failure. Depending on the chemical composition of your water, your anode rod can last anywhere from a few years to the life of your water heater. It's a good idea to check the condition of the anode rod every few years.

2DO AN EXTERNAL INSPECTION

Start with a visual inspection. How does your water heater look? Check the tank for signs of leaks (take a look at the floor under the water heater), as well as the relief valve (take a look under and around the valve), and the piping to and from the water heater.

3FLUSH OUT THE TANK

To keep your unit in the best possible condition, flush your hot water heater once a year – or at least every very few years. Flushing the tank removes built-up gunk and keeps it running efficiently. Click here for a step-by-step on flushing your water heater.

4LOCATE YOUR WATER HEATER

There isn't a set –spot" for a water heater to be installed, but they are usually located on an exterior wall, near your gas and water supply lines. If you don't see it there, check any utility closets in your home, your basement and the garage, if you have them. If you can't find your water heater (and you have a tankless heater), you should try and listen for it to turn on and off. (It does so when someone uses hot water.)

5CHECK THE HEATER VENT

If your water heater has a top vent, you need to ensure it's working properly. Otherwise, it can vent noxious gases into your home. Light a match and hold it next to the gap between the top of the water heater and the vent. When the water heater turns on, watch to see if the flame on the match is drawn toward the gap. If it is, you're in good shape. If not, we recommend you call a plumber to check out your system.

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Note: If you have an electric or high-efficiency water heater, you can skip this step.

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