Water Heater Maintenance

TotalProtect knows that when you can have hot water in your home at just the turn of a faucet or the press of a button, it's easy to forget about the unit working hard in the background to make that happen every time: your water heater. To keep it running smoothly, however, it's important to do some regular maintenance that will help prevent your water heater from breaking down unnecessarily and becoming a major, and expensive, problem down the road.

Our service technicians share a few easy maintenance steps below. Keep in mind, these are basic tips and don't necessarily indicate specific coverage or services. For that, make sure you review your contract and product coverage details. Read on for the tips!

Drain Your Water Heater

Sediment accumulates on the bottom of your water heater over time, so it's important to flush it out once or twice a year to prevent corrosion, rust and hampered efficiency. Here's how to do it:

1. Shut off power (gas or electricity) to the water heater.

2. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Do not open the valve yet.

3. Close the incoming cold-water valve at the top of the tank.

4. Open the pressure-relief valve on the tank.

5. Open the drain valve on the tank and drain it into a bucket until the water is clear.

6. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water-supply valve to stir up remaining sediment, and drain the tank again.

7. Once the water is clear, reverse the order of these steps, filling up the tank and turning the power back on at the end.

Test the Temperature and Pressure-Release Valve

This valve is a critical safety component of the water heater, as it opens if the tank pressure gets too high. To check if it's working properly, simply lift the valve's tab to let some water out, then let it snap back into place. If water keeps flowing, or there are any leaks, the valve is bad and needs to be replaced.

Examine the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a metal stick suspended in the tank that attracts charged water molecules that would otherwise corrode the walls of the tank itself, therefore prolonging the lifespan of the water heater. You should check the rod every three years and replace it if it's less than ½ inch thick or covered in calcium.

Dial Down the Temperature

Perhaps the easiest step in this list, bring the temperature setting of your water heater down to 120 degrees F. This will help prevent the water heater from overheating, and it'll lower your energy bill while keeping your water plenty warm. If you plan to be away from your home for more than three days, turn the temperature down to its lowest setting.

TotalProtect Home Warranty: For When the Water Goes Cold

No matter how much love you show your water heater, there's always the chance it breaks down unexpectedly, potentially leaving you with high repair or replacement costs. A TotalProtect Home Warranty helps protect your budget if that happens. It covers most of your major home appliances and systems, including your water heater, refrigerator, washer, A/C system and more. With a huge network of pre-screened local technicians and covered repairs and replacements, TotalProtect has your back. There's a reason why our customers love us. Call to get your instant quote today.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.