A typical hot water heater in Florida is designed to last 10 to 15 years. The actual time your hot water heater lasts depends on how well you take care of it. In Florida, taking proper care of a hot water heater is challenging due to the amount of hard water in the ground. The hard water is made up of magnesium and calcium deposits. The deposits build up in the heater can cause problems ranging from running out of hot water quickly to developing leaks in the hot water tank. Here are 5 tips on how to take care of your hot water heater to make it last as long as intended when bought new.
Draining a tank can offer great insights into its health. Turn off the water to the heater and slowly drain the tank five gallons at a time into a bucket. Inspect the water for changes as it comes out of the valve to find evidence of mineral deposits or dirt filling up in the tank. Mineral and sediment deposits serve as an insulator between the water and the heating element, and this can keep the water from heating up properly. Draining the tank should be done at least once a year.
Flushing a tank is much the same as draining one, except you don’t shut off the water to the heater. Instead, connect a hose to the drain valve and let the water rush through the tank and into your sewer drains or the outside. The rushing water forces sediment and dirt to break loose so it will drain out. This keeps the sediment and mineral build-up at a safe level so it won’t damage the tank. Hot water tanks should be flushed at least yearly.
The anode rod is made from metals like aluminum, magnesium, or aluminum-zinc alloy. The anode rod attracts hard water elements and other contaminants circulating in the tank. The elements cling to the rod instead of the metal walls and bottom of the tank, which reduces corrosion and premature failure of the hot water tank. Instead, the rod corrodes. The rod should be checked every year or two to see if it has corroded enough to be replaced.
The Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (TPR) allows water to escape the tank to reduce heat and pressure so it won’t explode. The valve sits on top of the tank and is connected to the pipe going down the side of it. There is a little metal clip that you can lift up and down on the valve. When you open the valve, hot water should come out of the end of the pipe on the side. The TPR valve should be checked every six months to a year.
Other things can go wrong with a hot water heater besides having hard water problems. The heating elements, thermostats, and other valves need to be checked and serviced periodically as well as other parts. A professionally serviced and maintained hot water tank helps give Floridians a sense of relief, knowing things are done right.
Call Case Plumbing & Sewer (813) 666-1446 today to service your hot water heater to make it last as long as possible.