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Essential Tips for Maintaining Your Water Heater

Your water heater is an integral part of your home’s plumbing system, providing you with hot water for various daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. With constant use, it’s crucial to ensure proper maintenance to prolong the lifespan of your water heater and ensure its energy efficiency. While some routine checkups and repairs might require professional assistance, homeowners can also perform basic upkeep to keep their water heaters running smoothly. In this article, we share essential tips for maintaining your water heater, brought to you by On Tap Solutions – the leading plumbing and heating company in Abbotsford, BC, and across the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland.

The first aspect to consider when maintaining your water heater is the sediment buildup that often occurs over time. Sediment – composed of minerals, dirt, and other debris – can accumulate at the bottom of the tank, causing reduced efficiency and potential damage to your water heater. Consequently, it is essential to flush your water heater periodically to remove sediment buildup. We will cover this process in detail in this article, along with other vital measures to keep your water heater in optimal condition.

When it comes to water heater maintenance, it’s also essential to inspect various components, such as the temperature and pressure relief valve (TPR valve), anode rod, and water supply lines. Performing regular checks on these parts will help you catch potential problems early and avoid costly repairs down the road. We will highlight the importance of these components and provide tips on how to inspect and maintain them.

By following the tips and recommendations in this article, you’ll have a better understanding of how to keep your water heater in top condition for years to come. Remember, although there are maintenance tasks you can complete on your own, it’s always best to consult with a professional plumbing and heating company like On Tap if you’re unsure or need assistance.

Tips for Maintaining Your Water Heater

A well-maintained water heater is vital for providing consistent hot water for various daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and bathing. Routine checkups and repairs can help prolong the lifespan of your water heater, ensure energy efficiency, and save you money in the long run. In this article from On Tap, we’ll share essential tips for maintaining your water heater and keeping it running smoothly. Let’s get started!

1. Regularly Flush Your Water Heater to Remove Sediment

Sediment buildup – composed of minerals, dirt, and other debris – can accumulate at the bottom of your water heater and reduce its efficiency. This can lead to higher energy bills and potential damage to the tank if left unaddressed. Flushing your water heater is a simple, yet essential, maintenance task that homeowners can perform to avoid these issues.

To flush your water heater, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the power to your water heater. For gas heaters, turn off the gas supply and set the control valve to “pilot.”
  • Turn off the cold water supply to the heater.
  • Attach a garden hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Ensure the other end of the hose is directed to a suitable drainage area.
  • Open the hot water faucet in your home and the pressure relief valve to allow air to flow through the tank.
  • Open the drain valve, letting the water in the tank flow through the hose until it runs clear. This may take several minutes.
  • Close the drain valve and pressure relief valve, then turn on the cold water supply to fill the tank again.
  • Once the water starts flowing from the hot water faucet, close it and turn on the power or gas supply to the heater.

It’s recommended to flush your water heater at least once a year, depending on the water hardness in your area.

2. Inspect and Replace the Anode Rod

The anode rod in your water heater is a crucial component that helps prevent rusting and corrosion of the tank. It is made of metals such as aluminum, magnesium, or zinc and is designed to corrode instead of your water heater’s tank. Inspecting and replacing the anode rod regularly (every 3-5 years) can significantly extend your water heater’s life.

To inspect and replace the anode rod:

  • Turn off the power and cold water supply to your water heater.
  • Locate the anode rod on the top of your water heater – it is usually attached to a hexagonal head that may be exposed or covered by a plastic cap.
  • Use a wrench to loosen and remove the anode rod from the tank.
  • Visually inspect the rod for excessive corrosion – if more than half of it is worn, it’s time to replace it.
  • Insert the new anode rod, making sure it’s properly tightened, and then turn on the water and power supply.

Remember to consult your water heater’s manual for specific instructions and recommendations related to your model.

3. Test and Maintain the Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve

The TPR valve is a crucial safety feature that prevents excessive pressure and temperature within your water heater by releasing water when necessary. To ensure the TPR valve is functioning correctly, it’s essential to test and maintain it periodically.

To test the TPR valve:

  • Place a bucket under the valve discharge pipe to catch any water release.
  • Lift the valve’s lever and let it snap back, releasing a burst of water. The valve should operate smoothly and effectively seal when released.
  • If the valve does not release water or continues dripping afterward, it may need to be replaced.

Testing your TPR valve should be done annually, and the valve should be replaced every 3-5 years or as needed.

4. Insulate Your Water Heater and Pipes

Insulating your water heater and hot water pipes can enhance energy efficiency by reducing heat loss. A well-insulated tank can help maintain a consistent water temperature, leading to lower energy bills. Insulation blankets or jackets can be used on both tank-type and tankless water heaters, while pipe insulation – typically made from foam or fibreglass – can be applied to hot water pipes.

Be sure to follow insulation manufacturer guidelines and consult with a professional if you have questions or concerns.


Performing regular maintenance on your water heater can significantly prolong its life and ensure energy efficiency, but it’s essential to know your limits. If you’re unsure about any of these tasks or encounter issues during maintenance, don’t hesitate to contact a professional plumbing and heating company like On Tap. Our experienced team can assist with water heater maintenance, repairs, and installations, ensuring your hot water needs are met year-round in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland.
Looking for a reliable plumbing and heating company for your hot water tank installation in Abbotsford? Look no further than On Tap Solutions! Our team of licensed and insured professionals has the expertise and experience to get the job done right. Contact us today to schedule your installation and enjoy reliable hot water for years to come.

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