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Water Heater Preventive Maintenance Tips | How Often To Drain?

Here are some simple tips to keep your water heater running in tip top shape. Maintaining it will prolong its life and save you a bunch of money in the long run. We will also tell you how often to drain your water heater to keep it in good shape for years to come.

Water Heater Preventive Maintenance TipsWater Heater Preventive Maintenance Tips

Start by turning the water heater down to 120F degrees. This will not only save you on gas or electric bills but make the heating elements last longer as they don’t have to work as long. The only appliance in your home that would maybe need water hotter that 120F would be your dishwasher that may use 140F temp. You usually do not have to worry about this as your dishwasher should have a heater in it that will heat the water to the correct temperature it needs. How to adjust your water heater temperature.

parts of a water heaterParts of an electric water heater

Is your water heater leaking or sweating?
If you see a visible leak coming from the bottom of your water heater, it should be replaced. However, make sure you do not mistake condensation for a leak. In cold months, the incoming cold water may cause water to condensate on the outside of the water heater. If this water drips on the floor it may appear to be a leak. Make sure you understand what is happening before even thinking about replacing it. Remember, when your water heater heats up, the condensation on the outside will evaporate. Also, if your water heater is too small for your household, condensation will be more likely to form. (Here are some different sized water heaters to choose from some are tankless) Be sure your water heater is big enough to feed your home’s shower, bathing, dishwashing, and washing machine needs.

water heater leak or condensationWater heater leak or condensation?

Keep your water heater from going bad too soon!
The best way to keep your water heater in the best working order is to drain it regularly. Drain 2 to 3 gallons of water out of it through the bottom valve every 6 months. This is done to remove any heavy sediment that may have formed on the bottom of the tank. Removing the sediment will also make your water heater more efficient. If the tank drain valve is stuck or cracked, you may need a new water heater drain valve. If you purchase a new one, be sure to get the correct one for your heater.

drain water heaterDrain water heater every 6 months

Save energy with your water heater!
If your water heater feels warm from the outside of the tank, it is expelling warmth. This is wasting energy. The best solution for this is to use a special insulation blanket that covers the tank so it keeps the warmth inside the heater. Home improvement stores have these “water heater jackets” in 1 to 3 inch thicknesses. They are a snap to install as you simply wrap it around the heater, tape it on securely, and then trim off any excess.

insulate your water heaterInsulate your water heater

Quick money saving tip: A nice relaxing bath can use 30 to 60 gallons of water versus a 5 minute shower only using 10 gallons of water. You will save on your electric bill and water bill if you take showers more frequently than a bath.

electric water heater element sequenceElectric water heater element sequence

Do you have any preventive maintenance tips to make a water heater last longer? Please leave a comment below.

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6 thoughts on “Water Heater Preventive Maintenance Tips | How Often To Drain?”

  1. My water heater has been having some issues, and it’s getting really annoying.
    It makes sense that maintenance would help me out!
    I’ll see if I can find a professional that I can hire to perform maintenance for me.

  2. I noticed that my water heater was sweating, but I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.
    It’s helpful how you mention to make sure you are not mistaking condensation for a leak.

  3. DIY Project Help Tips

    Michelle Schwartz,
    When the pressure relief valve on a water heater leaks it may be because the water heater is overpressurized or the valve is defective. If the valve constantly leaks, even after lifting the handle on the valve and manually releasing pressure a few times, just replace the valve. These valves cost less than $20 and removing and replacing the valve is a very easy job. Simpy drain some water out of the water heater, remove the discharge tube, and replace the valve.

  4. michelle schwartz

    My water heater pressure valve is leaking drops. Is this normal? If not what should i do?

  5. I just got a new water heater last week, and I want to make sure this one stays in really good shape. That being said, I appreciate you giving me some tips and insight on things I can make sure I do to maintain my water heater, and keep it running really well. I’ll be sure to follow your tips and see how long my water heater can last. Thanks a ton for all your help.

  6. I’m trying to make sure all the various appliances in my home are working as best as possible, so I’m interested in your advice to drain my water heater regularly. I’ve never heard that before! Obviously I want to do this if it makes my heater more efficient.

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