How to Check Your Water Heater for Potential Problems

Your family depends on the water heater for showers, washing dishes and for doing laundry, so it’s important to understand what warning signs may indicate a problem.

Traditional tank water heaters will generally last for around 10-13 years, and tankless models typically last for around 20 years. The information below addresses traditional water heaters.

Locating your water heater

Water heaters are usually installed in your basement, garage or in a closet. Sometimes, they are installed next to your furnace or boiler where gas or water lines run into the home.

Do a visual inspection

You should first check the unit for any signs of rust. Water heater rust can appear at floor level, underneath the unit. It may also appear around the relief valve, or at the point where piping runs to and from the system.

You also need to check your unit for leaks. Water heaters will usually leak from just one of two places – from the tank itself or from the temperature and pressure relief valve. If the water heater is leaking from the bottom (from the tank itself), then it may be time for replacement. If it’s leaking from the temperature and pressure relief valve, it may be repairable. You may want to call in a professional for assistance.

Water heater flush

One easy thing you can routinely do is have your water heater flushed. This process can help to remove build-up from inside the tank. This can help to ensure years of efficient operation. It’s something that should be done by a professional.

An expert can help you determine how often you need to have your unit flushed. This can depend on a variety of factors, including the age of the unit and how much sediment is in the water where you live.

Water heater anode rod

Another wise thing to do is to have an expert check your water heater’s anode rod, which protects the unit against corrosion, on an annual basis. The rod can get coated in calcium from your water. When this happens, it needs to be replaced by a professional.

With proper care, your water heater can run efficiently for years to come.