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Do Water Heaters Need Maintenance? And Other Frequently Asked Questions

Water Heater
How much do you know about your water heater? Do you know how to take care of it? Do you know the signs that your water heater needs maintenance or repair? This FAQ will help answer some of the questions you might have about your water heater so that you can take better care of your unit. 

Do Water Heaters Need Maintenance?

Although they can be left alone for long periods of time, water heaters benefit from regular attention and maintenance. To maintain your water heater, start by performing regular inspections. Examine your water heater at least every three months to look for signs of corrosion, rust, soot, scale, and moisture. If you notice signs of distress, contact a plumber as soon as possible.
In addition, you can maintain your water heater by flushing the sediment from the system on an annual basis. Sediment that builds up in the bottom of your water heater can block the heating elements and cause the heater to run inefficiently. To flush your water heater, read the owner's manual or follow these instructions:
  1. Turn off the cold water flowing into the appliance.
  2. Open a hot water faucet in the house to prevent a vacuum from forming in the pipes. 
  3. Turn off the power to the water heater.  
  4. Attach a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the water heater. 
  5. Open the spigot to allow water out of the tank and into a bucket or a drain. Be careful; the water will be hot!
  6. Allow the water to run out of the water heater until the water flows clear. 
  7. Turn off the water flowing out of the water heater.
  8. Turn on the water heater's cold water supply. 
  9. Close the hot water spigot that you opened in step 2. 
  10. Turn on the water heater as soon as the water has filled the tank again. 
Following these steps can help you maintain your water heater.  

How Long Do Water Heaters Last?

Water heaters last around 8 to 12 years, although some units may last much longer. You can extend the service life of your water heater by performing regular maintenance and by having your water heater inspected by a trusted plumber on a regular basis. 

How Can You Tell When It's Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

It's time to replace your water heater when it starts to show signs of a leak or when it's reaching the end of its service life. Many homeowners choose to replace their water heater when it reaches around 8 to 10 years of age. Waiting longer to replace your water heater could result in a water leak that could cost hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. 

Is It Possible to Repair Your Water Heater When It Springs a Leak?

A leaking water heater is generally considered to be beyond repair. If your water heater is leaking, you should have it examined by a plumbing professional. It's possible the plumber will decide that the water heater is leaking at an inlet pipe, and the tank itself is in good condition. However, a typical water heater leak usually signals the end of a water heater. 

What Should You Do If Your Water Heater Has Become Inefficient Over Time?

If your water heater becomes inefficient over time, this could be a sign that sediment is building up in the bottom of the water heater and that you need to flush the tank. 

Contact Your Plumber for More Information

If you have more questions about water heaters and their normal maintenance, contact a trusted plumber in San Leandro, CA. At Souza & Viviani Plumbing, we're happy to answer customer questions about water heaters and general home plumbing. Call us today.
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