How to Increase the Life of Your Water Heater

Your water heater is a modern necessity. It’s something you use every single day—from washing dishes to taking showers to cooking dinner. The water heater is an essential appliance in our homes and one we often take for granted. There’s nothing quite like finding out there’s a problem with your hot water tank because when the hot water runs out, it seems to impact everything you do.

Water Heater Tips & Tricks

To avoid the loss of hot water and keep your system in great shape, Bradley Mechanical is offering some expert tips on extending the life of your water heater:

Flush it out

It’s not a chore that often comes to mind, but flushing out your water heater is something that can improve its overall efficiency and extend its longevity. Water usually contains many dissolved minerals. While these minerals may be harmless and safe to drink, they can settle to the bottom of your water heater and cause damage to the heating elements over time.

Adjust the temperature

Adjusting the temperature of your water heater can make a difference in the wear and tear on it, as well as help you save some money on your upcoming energy bill. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends setting your water heater to 120°F because it is hot enough to kill most diseases but not cause accidental scalding. Also, higher temperatures can increase sediment buildup. Every 10 degrees you lower the water temperature, you’ll save 3-5% on your energy bill.

Test the water pressure

If you utilize city water, the water pressure should be below 80 psi. If you use a thermal expansion water tank, the pressure can be above 80 psi. The wrong amount of pressure could put unnecessary stress on the tank, decreasing its lifespan. This can be tested with a pressure gauge or during your next home performance review with Bradley Mechanical.

Insulate the heater

Many water heaters are located in unconditioned spaces like basements, attics or garages. Wrapping an insulation blanket around your water heater can help make it more energy efficient and reduce standby heat loss by a significant amount. With improved energy efficiency, your water heater can produce more hot water with less effort, thus reducing the strain on it.

Check the pressure valve

Water heaters have a safety device called a pressure relief valve. If the tank ever becomes over-pressurized, the relief valve will open and release the pressure. However, if the valve fails, it could cause the tank to explode, causing serious damage to your home. Regular maintenance and inspections by certified professionals can help determine the state of your pressure valve.

Have the anode rod checked

Both electric and gas water heaters have an anode rod. The anode rod’s function is to attract corrosive minerals and keep them from corroding the tank itself. Having the anode rod replaced by a professional every few years or whenever needed can help extend the life of your water heater by reducing rust buildup.

Signs it's Time to Upgrade

While there are numerous ways to extend the lifespan of your hot water tank, they do not last forever. If your water heater shows any of the following signs of old age, it may be time for an upgrade: 

  • Water tank leaks
  • Water temperature fluctuations
  • Water heat doesn’t last as long
  • Strange noises coming from the unit
  • Pilot light issues
  • Discolored water

When it comes time to replace your water heater, there are numerous options on the market. The good news? Water heaters have come a long way over the last several decades. Tankless water heaters are a great option compared to more traditional systems that use oil, gas or electric-based energy. Tankless water heaters will help you save energy and reduce your monthly utility bill, all while providing consistent and unlimited hot water whenever you need it.

Last but not least, tankless water heaters can last for more than 20 years!

Bradley Mechanical offers ongoing maintenance and service options for your water heating system, along with professional installation when it comes time to replace an old system. Let our team of certified technicians keep your water heater running at its best.

If your water heater has stopped working or needs repair or replacement, Bradley Mechanical can help you. We are your local water heater experts and have kept the hot water flowing in our community for over 50 years. Our professional technicians have the knowledge, tools and experience to service all makes and models of gas, electric and tankless water heaters.

Connect with our plumbing experts.

Customer FeedbackWhat Our Customers Say

Social ReviewsEvery Platform Tells Our Story

Weather Icon

Currently in Richmond, VASunny 91°

Seasonal & Weather Related TopicsTo Keep Your Family Comfortable