Easy Hot-Water Heater Maintenance Tasks
Regular care keeps this appliance running safely and efficiently.
Perform these simple maintenance tasks on your hot-water heater to prevent costly repairs, curb energy consumption and increase its lifespan.
- When servicing a water heater, always wear protective gear, including goggles and gloves.
- Before performing any maintenance, make sure you turn off the power, and the water supplies to the tank.
- If you can’t locate a part, consult the owner’s manual. If you don’t feel comfortable performing the maintenance, call a professional.
Task: Inspect the Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve
How Often: Every 2–3 years
Why: The TPR valve is a hot-water heater’s safety device. If it doesn’t work properly, the tank could explode from too much pressure.
What to Do: Test the TPR valve by pulling up the trip lever partway. If you don’t see water or hear a slight rush of air, drain the tank and replace the valve.
Task: Flush the Water Heater Tank
How Often: Every 6–12 months, based on how many people live in the house
Why: Tanks collect sediment, which can hinder efficiency.
What to Do: Shut off the cold-water inlet to the water heater. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and place the other end in a large bucket. Drain the tank completely, or until the water runs clear.
Task: Inspect the Anode Rod
How Often: Every year
Why: The anode rod protects the appliance from rust and corrosion, which can shorten the life of the tank.
What to Do: Drain a few gallons of water from the tank. Carefully loosen the rod and pull it upward. Some corrosion is normal, but if you see large pieces of metal coating missing, it’s time to replace the rod.
Task: Insulate the Water Heater Tank
How Often: Once
Why: Insulating a water heater can help lower energy costs, especially on older models with R-values less than 24.
What to Do: Cut an insulating blanket to fit around the tank’s pipes, TPR valve and the temperature control. Or purchase a precut blanket that fits your appliance’s dimensions.