Essential Water Heater Maintenance Tips for Homeowners

As a homeowner, having a reliable and efficient water heater is crucial for ensuring a steady supply of hot water for your family’s daily needs. However, like any other appliance, regularly maintaining your water heater is necessary for its optimal performance, energy efficiency, and prolonging its lifespan. Many homeowners tend to forget about their water heaters until a problem arises, such as a sudden lack of hot water or a leaking tank. Delaying maintenance can end up costing you more in the long run and may even necessitate expensive repairs or unit replacements.

Draining the tank is a crucial maintenance step for removing sediment and mineral buildup that can affect your water heater’s efficiency and lifespan. By removing sediment, you will also reduce the risk of corrosion and help your unit run more quietly. Inspecting the anode rod is another vital task to prevent rusting in the tank and prolong your unit’s life. A simple check of the pressure relief valve ensures that your water heater is operating safely and efficiently.

In addition to these tasks, having our professional technician periodically inspect your water heater can help identify potential issues before they become major problems. Learn the essential water heater maintenance tips that homeowners can follow to ensure their unit is running optimally for years to come.

Drain the Tank to Remove Sediment and Mineral Buildup

Over time, sediment and mineral deposits can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater tank, causing various issues, from reduced heating efficiency to corrosion. Draining the tank at least once a year can help remove this buildup and prevent potential problems.

Here’s how to drain your water heater tank:

1. Turn off the power supply or gas supply to your water heater.
2. Shut off the cold water supply valve leading to the tank.
3. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and lead the other end to a safe area or floor drain.
4. Open the drain valve and allow the water to flow out, removing sediment along with it.
5. Once the tank is empty, turn the cold water supply back on for several minutes to flush out any remaining sediment.
6. Close the drain valve and refill the tank before restoring power or gas to your water heater.

Inspect the Anode Rod to Prevent Tank Corrosion

The anode rod is a component inside your water heater that helps prevent tank corrosion by attracting corrosive elements, sacrificing itself to protect the tank. To ensure the longevity of your water heater, check the condition of the anode rod every 2-3 years.

To inspect the anode rod:

1. Turn off the power or gas supply and cold water supply valve.
2. Use a wrench to loosen and remove the anode rod from the top of the tank.
3. Examine the anode rod for signs of wear, such as thinning, a coating of sediment, or pitting.
4. If the rod is in poor condition, replace it with a new one to prolong the life of your water heater.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve for Proper Functioning

The pressure relief valve is a safety device that releases excess pressure from your water heater, preventing potential hazards. At least once a year, you should test the valve to ensure it’s operating correctly.

To test the pressure relief valve:

1. Place a bucket or container beneath the valve to catch any water released during the test.
2. Lift the valve’s lever and allow some water to flow out, then release the lever.
3. Make sure the water flow stops when you release the lever. If it doesn’t, you may need to flush the valve or have a professional replace it.

Maintain an Optimal Temperature Setting

Setting your water heater to an appropriate temperature can help conserve energy and reduce the risk of scalding. The Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater’s thermostat to 120°F (49°C) for optimal energy efficiency and safety.

To adjust your water heater’s temperature:

1. Locate the thermostat on your unit. For electric water heaters, it will be underneath an access panel, and for gas water heaters, it will be a dial near the gas control valve.
2. Adjust the thermostat to the desired temperature and monitor your hot water for a day or two for any fluctuations.

Schedule Professional Inspections and Maintenance

While some maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners, having our professional technician inspect and service your water heater routinely ensures it operates optimally and safely. Our skilled technician will check for any underlying issues, identify potential problems, and perform necessary repairs or adjustments to keep your water heater in top shape.

Some services provided during professional maintenance include:

1. Inspecting and cleaning the burner in gas water heaters
2. Checking for any signs of leaks or corrosion
3. Inspecting the ventilation system for proper exhausting of combustion gases
4. Examining the overall operational efficiency of your unit


Water heater maintenance is essential for ensuring a reliable supply of hot water to your home and maintaining energy efficiency. By following these practical tips on draining the tank, inspecting the anode rod, testing the pressure relief valve, maintaining the right temperature setting, and scheduling regular professional inspections, you can extend the lifespan of your water heater and prevent potential issues. 

Don’t wait for problems to arise – take control of your water heater’s care today and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained unit. If you need professional assistance or guidance, our experienced team at All Star Heating & Air is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a water heater maintenance service in Summerville, SC, and surrounding areas and keep your unit operating optimally for years to come!