Maintenance Checklist for a Water Heater

How often do you think about your water heater? While it’s something that gets used every single day, not every homeowner includes the water heater in their regular maintenance routine. You should be checking your home’s water heater every six months. The purpose of this regular check is to ensure there’s no sediment buildup, corrosion to either the anode rod or tank itself and that the gas connection is secure. Failure to maintain your water heater’s condition could lead to some dangerous outcomes; gas leaks, severe water leaks, and even explosions could happen due to a poorly maintained tank. We don’t want this to happen to you, so we put together our maintenance checklist for water heaters!

1. Check the Age of Your Water Heater

You should always know how old your water heater is. The lifespan of a standard tank heater is approximately ten years. Some make it longer, but it’s more common to have a shorter lifespan due to irregular maintenance. There should be the manufacturing year somewhere on the tank itself if you don’t remember when you purchased it. If you see the tank is coming up on ten years, it may be best to stop this maintenance checklist and call a professional plumber to evaluate it thoroughly.

2. Shut Off The Water Heater

If your tank isn’t a senior quite yet, you can perform your maintenance check! Start by turning off the water heater entirely and allowing it to cool for a full eight hours. This cooling-off period prevents the chance of burns from hot water left inside the tank. You may need to shut off the gas valve as well, depending on what type of tank you have.

3. Inspect the Valves

Most water heaters have a water pressure valve and a temperature and pressure relief valve. The water pressure valve should read between 40 – 60 PSI if it’s working correctly. The temperature and pressure relief valve vary depending on the actual water heater you own, so check your manufacturer’s recommendations and compare those to your reading.

4. Look for Signs of Corrosion

A leak is one of the most common issues our plumbing experts get for water heaters. You can usually spot these leaks well in advance! Look at every side of the tank. Are there any red rust spots or signs of corrosion? Is anything bent or cracked? Any of these signs are indicators a leak has already happened or is just about to happen. Contact a plumber immediately if you see rusty spots, corrosion, or cracks in your water heater.

5. Drain the Water Heater Tank

No leaks, valves look good, and your water heater is off? Time to drain it! Connect a hose to the drain valve and let the water pour out. Run fresh water in and pour that off as well. This rinse removes any buildup left inside the tank, which will help prolong your water heater’s lifespan.

6. Check the Anode Rod

Your water heater’s anode rod is a small rod that absorbs all the hard minerals from the water inside the tank. The anode rod moves around depending on the manufacturer, so you’ll have to consult the manual to find it. Pop it out and check for corrosion. Does it have sediment on it? Is it breaking down anywhere? If the answer is yes, replace it as soon as possible.

7. Refill The Tank

Once you put everything back where it came from, you can refill the tank! Fill the tank with cold water to start, and then open up a ‘hot’ tap somewhere in the home to allow water to flow out. While it won’t heat up, this removes air bubbles from the tank. After three or so minutes, turn the tap off and light your water heater!


For more common plumbing and other related tips, please contact Sin City Plumbing.

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