Your home's water heater is one appliance that should last for many years if you make sure to do proper maintenance. Unfortunately, many homeowners ignore their water heater until there is a problem. By doing the following 4 things, you'll get some extra years out of your hot water heater before it's finally time to replace it.

Set The Thermostat To The Proper Temperature

Both electric and gas water heaters need to set to the proper temperature to increase the tank's lifespan. 120 degrees is recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency for most homes, with 140 degrees being necessary if you have a dishwasher that doesn't heat the water. Bacteria can form in the tank if the temperature is set too low, but setting the thermostat too high can wear out the heating element prematurely.

Flush The Water Heater Annually

Sediment will build up in a hot water heater over time. It not only creates a loud banging sound when the sediment moves around the tank, but also causes the heating element to work harder to heat the water. Most families will need to flush the hot water heater every year to clean out all sediment that is resting at the bottom of the tank. If your family is large, you will need to do it more often.

Replace The Water Heater's Anode Rod

The anode rod is a designed to prevent corrosion from happening to the tank. It is a sacrificial element that screws into the tank, and will corrode before the metal exterior does. Many homeowners do not think of replacing the tank's anode rod once it deteriorates, and only notice once the tank starts to rust. Expect to replace an anode rod every 3 years to extend the life of your water heater. If you have a home water softener that processes the water before it enters your water heater, expect the anode rod to deteriorate at a faster rate.

Check Valves For Leaks

You will find a small valve on the top of the water heater called the pressure and temperature valve. Make sure to periodically inspect this valve for potential leaks. If the valve is not secured tightly enough, the leaking water could cause the water heater to be inefficient. The more a hot water heater has to work, the fewer years you'll get out of it.

Follow these tips, and you will not need to replace your water heater for a long time. For more information, contact an HVAC contractor like Avalon Plumbing & Heating Ltd.