3 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Tank Water Heater

October 20, 2020

Tips for Extending the Life of Your Tank Water Heater

Since water heaters are a vital component of any home, making sure they last as long as they can is important.

The best way to extend the life of your water heater is to maintain your water heater. Maintenance not only keeps all of your water heater’s parts working smoothly and efficiently, but also helps keep your manufacturer’s warranty valid.

In addition to maintenance, here are three more ways to help extend the life of your water heater:

  • Install an expansion tank
  • Check your water heater temperature
  • Know the signs of an aging water heater

Below, we’ll look at each of these tips in more detail, so you can get a better idea of what you need to do to keep your water heater working in tip-top shape.

Tip #1: Install an expansion tank

When water heats up in your heater, it expands, a phenomenon called thermal expansion.

When the water expands, it adds pressure to the inside of your tank, and this pressure can start to affect the integrity of the tank. Constantly expanding and contracting can reduce the lifespan of your tank, eventually causing leaks.

To prevent thermal expansion from killing your water heater, our suggestion would be to install an expansion tank. An expansion tank is a place for water to flow to if the pressure inside your main tank gets to be too much, lowering the pressure of your tank and preventing damage.

Note: You’ll only need to install an expansion tank if you have a closed plumbing system. A closed system just means that once water enters your home, it can’t go back into the main water supply. This means that water has no “escape” route and can create undue pressure inside your water tank. To determine if you have a closed plumbing system, look for a backflow prevention device on your main water line. If you have a backflow prevention device, you have a closed plumbing system.

If you aren’t sure what kind of system you have or if you would benefit from an expansion tank, reach out to a plumber. They will be able to help you determine if an expansion tank is right for you.

Tip #2: Make sure the temperature is set correctly

Most water heaters are set to around 140° degrees, but the EPA recommends setting your water heater to 120° for maximum efficiency and longevity of your water heater.

If your water heater is set too low (below 120°), bacteria can start to grow in your tank.

If your water heater is set too high (above 140°), it can increase your energy bills and increase mineral buildup and corrosion.

To check the temperature of your water heater, run the faucet closest to your water heater for a few minutes and then fill a glass with the water. Using a cooking thermometer, check the temperature of the water. If it’s between 120°-130°, you’re good to go. If it’s under 120° or over 130°, use the temperature dial on your water heater to adjust the temperature accordingly.

Note: If your water heater was installed the right way, the plumber should have set the temperature correctly before they left your home. At Advanced Air, we always ensure that the temperature is on the right setting before we complete our installation.

Tip #3: Know the signs of an aging water heater

The above tips can help you extend your water heater's life, but if it reaches a certain age – it will eventually need to be replaced. On average, water heaters last about 10-15 years.

It may be time to replace your water heater if you notice...

  • Water dripping or leaking from your tank
  • Rust or corrosion on any part of your water heater
  • Your water heater can no longer keep up with hot water demand
  • Your energy bills have spiked
  • Loud or unusual sounds coming from your heater

If you’re experiencing any of the signs above, it’s probably time to reach out to a professional. Continuing to run an aging water heater can increase your energy bills and potentially cause damage to your home (if your water heater is leaking).

Even though replacing your water heater is an investment, it’s in your best financial interest to replace your heater if it’s exhibiting any of the signs of age we’ve listed above.

Think you may need to have your water heater replaced? Hire the best techs in Southwest Florida

If you started to maintain your water heater and noticed that several parts are rusted, broken or corroding, it may be time to replace your entire water heater altogether. At Advanced Air, we will always take the time to assess your current system and needs so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best solution for your home.