Water heater 101

I’ve learned some interesting things over the years about water heaters…at least the ones in the traditional sense. The average lifespan of a very common, 40 gallon, natural gas water heater is 10 years. Considering they’re around a thousand bucks to purchase and replace that’s not a bad run. What I’ve learned could extent the life of the heater to the possibility of lasting the life of your tenure as home owner.

Lets start with the drain at the bottom of a water heater, kind of looks like a hose bibb. The drain is there for exactly that, to drain the tank. You’ll find that the failure of the tank is due to sediment and you want to get that stuff out of there. If you search online there is many pages devoted to this task. It isn’t hard. You might get dirty. A garden hose is the main tool you’ll use…it’s best to drain your water heater annually.

Next thing to change is the anode rod in the top of the tank. It’s job is to collect the corrosive elements that create the sediment in the tank. This job is a bit more intensive, but really it’s fairly simple and straight forward. The rod should be replaced every 5 years unless you live in a very hard water area, then maybe every other.

If you’re the curious sort, like me, you’ll notice the picture of the water heaters I have up for this blog has something very wrong with every water heater. The front of every tank has PVC piping coming off of the temperature relief valve…it should be copper. PVC will fail with the high temperature of the water leaving the tank…so maybe you should check what type of piping you have.