How to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater

How to Extend the Life of Your Water Heater
  • Opening Intro -

    The water heater is an integral part of any home's functionality.

    Whether you are washing dishes, clothes or taking a shower or bath, hot water is a requisite for each.

    The method for heating water in the home is the use of a water heater.

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The standard water heater has the potential to last up to 12 years. The vast majority of water heater tanks are steel lined with porcelain and glass, which creates the proclivity for these tanks to deteriorate over time. Eventually, most tanks will develop leaks, with some leaks being gradual and slow in their development, while others being more immediate and drastic.

The truth is that your heater will inevitably fail. By purchasing a home warranty, you will ensure that the cost for replacing your old water heater and installing a new one will be covered. However, there are ways to extend the life of a water heater.

In order to protect against water damage, it is wise to know where the primary water shutoff is located. There are rare occasions in which some homeowners are able to get 15 or even 20 years out of their water heater; however, it is important to understand that even when a water heater is operational, it may lose its original level of efficiency, which has the capacity to increase the energy cost of the home. This means that it is vital, not only to extend the life of the heater, but it is equally important to sustain a high level of efficiency.

Below, you will find some highly effective tips that will assist you in extending the life and performance of your water heating system.

Install an Expansion Tank

If you are using a closed system, installing an expansion tank has the potential to more than double the life expectancy of your water heater. This is because water expands when it is heated from 50 degrees F to 120 degrees F. The water can expand by as much as two percent. This means that a 50-gallon tank has the capacity to produce an additional gallon of volume.

In closed systems, systems that contain a valve that inhibits the flow of water back into the main plumbing system, this creates a problem because there is nowhere for the additional water volume to go. Water is not particularly compressible, meaning that the rapid expansion and decreases in volume will not only take its toll on the water heater, but damage your plumbing system as well. Adding an expansion tank will help alleviate the constant pressure.

Cleaning and Flushing Your Tank

With older tanks, sediment buildup is an issue — decreasing the efficiency of the tank. By flushing the tank on an annual basis, it will help remove the buildup before it becomes an issue. Because this helps to sustain a high efficiency level, it places less strain on the water heater, subsequently extending the life and quality of the water heater.

Installing a PRV

High water pressure can wreak havoc on the plumbing attached to your water heater, and it also has the capacity to damage appliances. Whenever the water pressure exceeds 90 PSI, it has the potential to cause premature failure of your water heater and damage your appliances. By installing a pressure-regulating valve, the system pressure will be reduced, extending the life of the water heater and easing the wear and tear on your water-connected appliances. Keep in mind that the installation of a PRV will create the requisite for an extension tank.

Install a Water Softener

There are certain areas within the continental U.S., such as California and other Southwestern states that have water with high levels of mineral content. This type of water is most commonly referred to as hard water. Hard water is notorious for creating scaling or calcification on appliances and plumbing. This type of calcification will also drastically reduce the life of a water heater. By installing a water softener, you will not only increase the life of your water heater, but you will increase the life of all of your major plumbing and appliances. Your body will also thank you.

You should also ensure that regular maintenance is performed on the water heater. You should also frequently test the pressure-relief valve, which will be located either on top or on side of the water heater. The pressure-relief valve is designed to automatically release the pressure in the tank when it reaches a certain level. This actually ensures that the tank will not explode due to excessive pressure. When you check the valve, if it does not release water, you should replace it immediately. You should also keep the temperature of your tank at no higher than 120 degrees F — any higher and sediment buildup will increase drastically.

Image Credit: Flicker

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