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An image of someone taking off the access panel of a water heater, with the disconnected thermocouple sticking out

Keeping your water heater in prime condition isn’t just about ensuring you have hot water when you need it; it’s also about maximizing efficiency, extending the lifespan of your unit, and safeguarding your home against potential hazards. Regular maintenance is the key to achieving these goals, but many homeowners are unsure where to start. 

That’s where we hope to make a difference for you. In this guide, we’ll be offering essential tips and insights for optimal water heater performance. Whether you’ve got a traditional tank model or a sleek tankless unit, understanding how to care for it can make all the difference. In the end, if it turns out that you need some professional help, we’ll even point you toward a trusted Bay Area resource that can keep your water heater running smoothly for years to come.

A Closer Look at Your Water Heater

Water heaters come in two basic types, traditional tank models and tankless versions. The traditional water heaters store and heat water in a large tank, providing a ready supply when you turn the faucet on. The other type, tankless water heaters, heat water directly as it flows through the device, offering on-demand hot water without the need for a storage tank.

Each type has specific maintenance needs. For instance, tank models may require more frequent checks for sediment buildup, while tankless models need regular inspections to ensure their heating elements are in good condition. By knowing the basics of maintenance for your particular water heater type, you’ll be better equipped to recognize when it’s time for a professional check-up or other help 

Daily and Monthly Maintenance Tips

Regular daily and monthly maintenance of your water heater can significantly extend its life and enhance its efficiency. 

Here’s an overview of maintenance that you should be doing on a fairly regular basis: 

  • Daily Inspections: Though it might seem excessive, a quick daily glance at your water heater can catch leaks or changes early. Look for any signs of moisture or drips around the unit, which could indicate a leak.
  • Monthly Temperature Check: Ensure the temperature setting on your water heater is optimal, typically around 120°F. This prevents scalding and reduces energy consumption. An overly high setting not only increases the risk of burns but can also shorten the lifespan of your water heater by accelerating mineral buildup and corrosion.
  • Check Pressure Relief Valve: Monthly, test the pressure relief valve by lifting the lever and letting it snap back. This valve releases water if pressure or temperature gets too high. Water should flow freely when the lever is lifted and stop when it’s released. If it doesn’t, it’s time to replace the valve.
  • Inspect for Corrosion and Rust: Look for signs of corrosion or rust around the water inlet and outlet connections. Catching these early can prevent leaks and water damage.

If you make these checks part of your daily and monthly routines, you’ll be in a much better position to keep your water heater working efficiently and reliably for many years. Also, remember that no matter how diligent you are in sticking to your maintenance schedule, it’s still a good idea to get an annual checkup by a professional.

Annual Maintenance

This deeper dive into your system can help prevent unexpected breakdowns and extend the unit’s lifespan. Annual maintenance is critical for making sure it runs optimally for another year.

Annual maintenance will typically involve the following: 

  • Flush the Tank: Over time, sediment builds up at the bottom of tank water heaters, which can hinder performance and cause corrosion. Flushing the tank annually helps remove this sediment, improving efficiency and prolonging the unit’s life. For tankless water heaters, flushing helps remove mineral build-up that can affect heat exchange efficiency.
  • Check the Anode Rod: The anode rod safeguards your tank from corrosion by attracting oxidizing elements in the water. It should be checked annually and replaced if more than half worn away, typically every three to five years.
  • Inspect the Burner (Gas Heaters): For gas water heaters, inspect the burner for proper operation. The flame should be blue with yellow tips. If it’s mostly yellow, or if you see soot around the area, the burner may need cleaning or adjustment.

Recognizing When to Call a Professional

Even though regular maintenance can extend the life of your water heater and help limit the need for water heater repairs, there are situations when you’ll want to call a professional. Recognizing these signs as early as possible can help stop small issues from getting out of hand. 

Here are the top signs that you need to call a plumber: 

  1. If you’re finding it difficult to keep the water temperature consistent, or if you have no hot water at all, it’s time to call for an expert water heater repair.
  2. Rusty or discolored water is another sign that your water heater needs service, and could indicate a problem with the anode rod or corrosion.
  3. Hearing unusual noises is another sign there may be repairs needed. Call a pro if you’re hearing popping, cracking, or rumbling from your water heater.

Ensuring Long-Term Efficiency and Safety with George Salet Plumbing

Maintaining your water heater not only ensures it operates at peak efficiency but also safeguards your home against potential hazards. Regular maintenance and addressing issues promptly can significantly extend the life of your unit, saving you money and hassle over time. 

George Salet Plumbing specializes in comprehensive water heater maintenance, from routine check-ups to complex repairs, ensuring your system remains reliable year after year. Trusting the expertise of professionals for your annual maintenance and when unexpected problems arise guarantees that your water heater stays in peak condition, providing you and your family with peace of mind.

Enjoy Worry-Free Water Heater Maintenance in Northern California

For homeowners in Northern California, George Salet Plumbing offers unparalleled service and expertise in water heater maintenance. Our team of certified professionals is equipped to handle everything from basic maintenance to emergency repairs, ensuring your water heater delivers consistent, efficient performance. No matter what your plumbing needs are, reach out online or text us at  (833) 568-6333 and speak with a member of our team to get started.  

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