It almost always seems to happen at the absolute worst time – your water heater bursts or just simply stops providing you with hot water.

But water heaters can last a really long time when properly maintained. How long? Years, if not decades if you make the effort to keep them in tip-top shape.

Read below for tips on how to maintain your hot water heater so that it will keep you in hot water for years to come.

Remember, whenever you work with your water heater, make sure it’s disconnected. You also should wear heavy duty gloves and check how hot a pipe may before you touch it.

  • Keep the maximum temperature that your heater will heat the water to less than 120 degrees F. This will safe you in heating costs and also will help prevent scalding accidents. It also helps keep the heater itself from overheating.
  • Don’t store flammable materials near the heater, especially if it’s a gas heater.
  • Place a water tank blanket around the heater. This helps insulate it, helping it hold the heat in, making it more efficient over its lifetime of service to you and your family.
  • Tap water has sediment. Your heater continuously is filled with tap water and the tiny bits of sediment fall to the heater’s bottom. You should flush the sediment out of your heater at least once a year so that you can prevent mineral build up. To do this, turn the heater off and attach a hose to the tank’s outlet valve. Use the pump to drain out the water (use a bucket if the heater isn’t near a drain in the floor). Then refill the heater about half way, then drain it again. Do this until all the sediment is gone. Turn your heater on and then fill it back up.
  • Keep an eye on your heater’s anode rod. This is a long metal rod that actually protects your heater from corrosion by corroding first. It should be replaced once a year.
  • If you have a gas heater, check the pilot light to make sure it’s burning “blue.” If it’s not, instructions for relighting your pilot light almost always are located on the side of the heater.

How to maintain water heaters

  • You’ll also want to regularly check the temperature and pressure relief (T&P) valve to make. To do so, just lift up the lever a bit. Let it go and see how rapidly it snaps back. You should hear a gurgling sound as the valve lets a bit of water back into the drain tube. If you hear nothing, or if it doesn’t snap back quickly when lifted, it should be replaced.

If you don’t feel comfortable performing these maintenance tips on your water heater, we’re here to help. Whether your heater needs annual maintenance or it’s stopped providing you with hot water, call upon the Carrolton plumbers at Plumbing Dynamics to help. Call us at

214-929-3431 or send us an e-mail using our online contact form.

Image courtesy of Christopher on