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Itโ€™s not usually visible, but your water heater is needed every time you make a meal, wash the dishes, or bathe. Without proper maintenance, it will become less efficient and have a reduced lifespan. The fall and winter are good times to perform maintenance. This is when your water heater is in highest demand and thereโ€™s a benchmark to use to make sure vital tasks are completed.

Maintenance can keep your water heater running for 15 years or more. Here are some areas you want to address to get the most out of your appliance:


An efficient water heater is more reliable and can keep your monthly energy bills down. To ensure your water heater remains efficient:

  • Flush the tank: Sediment that can build up in the tank makes it more difficult for the system to heat water. Flush the tank once a year to remove the sediment and fill it with clean water.
  • Add insulation: Insulation helps keep heat inside to make the water heater more efficient. The simplest solutions include insulating blankets for the tank and insulating sleeves for pipes.


An annual inspection can increase the longevity of your water heater. One effective way to improve longevity is to check the anode rod inside the tank. The rod helps extract rust-causing elements; check it every year or two and replace it roughly every five years. Do a thorough examination every three years and replace the rod if thereโ€™s more than six inches of core steel wire, the rod is less than ยฝ inch thick, or calcium is coating it.


Water heater safety is affected mainly by temperature and pressure. You can improve your safety by:

  • Reducing the temperature: Water temperatures over 140ยฐF can easily scald the skin; if you lower the water heaterโ€™s temperature (to around 115-120ยฐF), then the water coming out of the taps is less likely to scald adults or children.
  • Test the unitโ€™s TPR valve: The temperature and pressure relief valve helps regulate pressure in the tank; otherwise, it can reach dangerous levels. Water should discharge when you open the valve (with some gurgling sounds); if not, replace it immediately.

Other Maintenance Tips

If you have an older water heater thatโ€™s still working, insulate it with a fiberglass jacket (avoiding contact with the exhaust flue). Insulation can improve efficiency. Newer water heaters are already insulated, which is one reason to consider replacement.

You can also partially flush the water heater. Draining about a quarter of the tank a few times a year can remove sediment and debris before they cause a problem. First, turn off the cold water supply. Then connect a garden hose to the drain valve and run it into a bucket. Wait until the water is no longer cloudy. If it doesnโ€™t clear up, open the water supply briefly to stir up the sediment in the tank, and then drain it again.

Call Detour Plumbing for a Professional Inspection

Our certified professional plumbers in Santa Clarita know exactly what to look for. If youโ€™re ready for fall/winter water heater maintenance, contact Detour Plumbing and a plumber will carefully inspect and clean the burner assembly, inspect/repair the exhaust flue of a gas or electric water heater, and inspect the unit for leaks or corrosion. We also make any necessary repairs and replace your old unit with a newer, more efficient water heater. To schedule maintenance that can improve efficiency and keep your heating bills down, contact us today at 661-495-2403.

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