Keep your new water heater out of the dump. If it’s time for you to buy a new water heater, you will want to maximize your investment by extending the lifespan of your new unit. While all water heaters eventually wear out, the good news is that prolonging the life of your new water heater is within your control. Below is more information about two critical maintenance tasks that will keep your new water heater producing for many years to come.
Flushing Your Hot Water Heater
The first important maintenance step that will prolong the life of your water heater is a periodic flushing of sediment. This is necessary because sediment accumulation can cause severe problems with your water heater’s functioning, and sediment buildup can even do permanent damage to the device.
To better understand why flushing is necessary, it is essential to take a closer look at the sedimentation process inside a hot water heater, and the role played by dissolved solids. Though it may be transparent to the naked eye, tap water and well water both contain many dissolved solids such as metals, salts, and organic material.
The most common of these substances include sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and a variety of carbonates and chlorides. While most dissolved chemicals in approved municipal water supplies are safe for human consumption, they can sometimes play havoc with plumbing, including your water heater.
As water is heated, many of these dissolved solids will precipitate (reappear in solid form) inside the water heater. Mainly, calcium and magnesium are both especially prone to collect at the bottom of the tank in the form of sediment. A small amount of sediment is relatively harmless, but as the layer slowly builds, it influences the operation of the water heater.
For example, sediment serves to insulate the water inside the tank from the source of heat, which is either an electric coil or gas-fired burner depending on the tank design. That means water won’t heat as quickly, which forces the water heater to use more energy to obtain the desired result.
Another consequence of insulating the tank with sediment is that heat unable to “reach” the water is absorbed by the water heater itself. Over time, this can change the metal tank’s characteristics and eventually cause failure of the device itself.
The solution is to drain the tank to remove sediment periodically. This operation should be conducted annually for best results, and a professional plumber can safely perform this job for you.
Replacing the Sacrificial Anode
Another maintenance step that will prolong the life of your new water heater is to replace the unit’s sacrificial anode. This component gives up its existence to protect the interior of your water heater from corrosion and destruction.
Inside a water heater tank, the metal tank walls and components come under constant attack by harsh chemistry in action. Without any protection, the tank would quickly rust, develop leaks and render your water heater worthless.
To prevent corrosion from occurring, the anode, a simple metal rod made from magnesium or aluminum, serves as an easy target for the chemical forces that would otherwise destroy the tank. The sacrificial anode slowly dissolves and disappears during this process, and the tank walls remain relatively unscathed as a result.
The key to making the sacrificial anode process useful is to replace the dissolving component with a new one periodically. Fortunately, this isn’t difficult, as the rod can be easily removed and replaced by a plumber. If replaced before it dissolves entirely, a water heater will remain protected from corrosive influences for many years.
If you need a new water heater or have questions about water heaters in general, including how to protect your new unit once it’s installed, then contact Waterheaters.com today. We are here to answer all of your water heater questions and will perform the installation you deserve.