Water Heater Tank Maintenance

When should you do water heater tank maintenance? Is your water heater 10 years or older? You might want to check! Not preventing the tank from rusting and forming leaks is a sure way to lessen the life of your unit. (Once you have a leak, you might as well replace the tank.).

Do you know what causes rust and water leaks that lead to your water heater’s downfall? Neglect. Most homeowners never even open the door to their water heater closet or say hello to it in the garage. Where is your water heater hiding? They are easy to forget.

Things that affect your tank:

  • How often you use hot water.
  • The quality of your tank’s inner liner.
  • The hardness of your water (Texas water is very loaded with minerals).
  • Anode metal type (magnesium rods corrode quicker in hard water).

Texas water is very hard (filled with minerals like calcium carbonate and magnesium). Sediment buildup in a water heater tank is common.

Here are 2 maintenance tasks you should perform to keep your new home water heater in good working order for years to come.

1) Change the anode rod.

Most homeowners just don’t know how to maintain their water heater, or even that it needs maintenance, to begin with. You should inspect the anode rod once a year and replace it every 4 to 5 years.

What is an anode rod? Sometimes its called the “sacrificial anode rod”. That sounds serious! The anode rod determines how long your water heater lives. It’s a 3-5 foot rod inside the water heater that prevents the water heater tank from rusting/corroding. The anode rod rusts and corrodes before the water heater’s steel tank will.

The anode rode conducts electrolysis which is when 2 metals touch under water, the least “noble” metal (the more reactive one) always corrodes before the more noble metal will. Aluminum, magnesium, zinc are less noble than steel, so they will corrode before steel will. Anode rods are constructed of aluminum, magnesium, zinc, or some combination of those metals. These metals are able to save the steel tank from rusting.

How do I check and replace the anode rod?

How often do you replace an anode rod? This is based on a few factors. Once the anode rod corrodes, your water heater’s tank is next. If the rod has rusted through (or the space above the water heater is limited), you’ll have a hard time removing the rod and will need help from TDT Plumbing.

If you really want to do this yourself, turn off the power to the water heater and the cold-water inlet valve at the top of the water heater.

Next, look on top of your water heater, and you’ll see a hex bolt holding the anode in place. Unscrew it and pull the rod up and out of the water heater.

2) Drain/flush the water heater tank once a year– prevents sediment buildup.

Over a period of time, rust from the anode rod and minerals from hard water settle on the bottom of your water heater as filthy brown sediment. This sediment acts as a layer between your hot water and the water heater’s gas burner which:

  • Causes your water heater to waste gas as it struggles to heat the water.
  • Overheats the tank, causing it to deteriorate.
  • Becomes a breeding ground for disease because the tank can’t heat the water enough to keep bacteria from surviving.

Water heater tank maintenance is a must. A deteriorated water heater tank will eventually leak and possibly burst, causing costly water damage in your home. According to disastersafety.org, “Water heater failures cost an average of $4,444 per incident after the deductible was paid.” What homeowner wants that kind of disruption and damage?

TDT Plumbing Houston Water Heater Tank Maintenance

When to Call TDT Plumbing

If the water heater tank maintenance isn’t for you, run to the phone fast to call us! We’re standing by for you!  tdtplumbing.com  (713) 697-2088