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4 Ways to Keep Your Water Heater Alive and Well

First things first: your water heater is essential to modern living. Without a working water heater, you can say goodbye to hot showers and effective dish-washing. And if your water heater fails, you could be dealing with a few inches of water covering the floor of your home (try not to think about how much restoring your floors would cost). No one wants to be stuck in a position like that.

That’s why we at Big Blue Plumbing recommend replacing your water-heater with a new model about every twelve years. Modern water heaters tend to fail between ten and fifteen years of use, so replacing yours every twelve years is a great way to protect yourself from a failing water heater while keeping it for as long as is safe.

1. CHECK YOUR WATER PRESSURE

Water heater manufacturers recommend that the system pressure not exceed 80 pounds per square inch (PSI). If your system pressure is greater than 70 PSI, installing a pressure regulating valve will extend the life of your water heater.

2. FLUSH YOUR WATER HEATER EVERY YEAR

Mineral deposits in the water release as the water heats and cools. This process creates sediments that build up, causing inefficiency, reduced capacity, and even leaks. Flushing your water heater to remove harmful build up can drastically increase your water heater’s lifespan. You can flush your water heater yourself!

3. INSTALL AN EXPANSION TANK

The water in your tank expands and contracts continuously throughout the day as it heats up and cools down. An expansion tank is essentially a balloon that expands and contracts with the water to ease the pressure on the water heater, extending its life.

4. REPLACE YOUR ANODE ROD
Inside all water heaters is an Anode Rod. The anode is a long metal rod, made from magnesium or an aluminum/zinc alloy that attracts corrosive elements in the water. When the rod becomes so corroded that it can no longer do its job, the tank starts to rust out and will eventually leak.

“BUT MY OLD WATER HEATER IS 30 YEARS OLD. WHY DO I NEED A NEW ONE EVERY 12 YEARS?”
Unfortunately, they don’t make ‘em like they used to. Modern water heaters are made from steel with high recycled-material content. The steel’s gage is thinner than that of a water heater made three decades ago, which isn’t necessarily bad: thinner steel means a much lower price.

But why buy a new water heater today when you can keep yours for as long as possible? Here are a few expert tips to keep your water heater in great shape for the 12 years of its life.

DIY WATER HEATER FLUSH
You can flush your water heater yourself! Attach a hose to the bib (faucet) at the bottom of the water heater. Turn off the gas control valve, open the drain bib, and flush water through the bib into your yard. Bear in mind the water can be very hot!

QUICK TIP:
Inexpensive plastic bibs often break or clog and won’t re-seal after flushing. Call Big Blue to flush your water heater and we’ll replace your bib with a full port drain down valve that’ll make annual flushing a snap.