Kevin Cook for Idaho Senate Ribbon

Water heaters are not only essential for our daily lives but they also represent a significant investment. Over time, they can lose efficiency, break down, or even create safety hazards in your home. To avoid such problems and ensure your water heater runs well, it is important to invest in regular maintenance. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at water heaters and offer tips to keep them in good condition.

Check the Pressure Relief Valve

The pressure relief valve is a safety feature that releases water if the pressure inside the tank builds up to a dangerous level. Over time, the valve can become corroded or clogged, causing it to malfunction. To keep your water heater safe, test the pressure relief valve once a year. To do this, turn off the power supply and then lift the valve handle for a few seconds. You should hear a gurgling sound or see a burst of water — this means the valve is working correctly.

Flush the Tank

Over time, sediment builds up inside the water heater tank, which can compromise its efficiency. Flushing the tank once a year can help remove sediment and keep your water heater running smoothly. Turn off the power and water supply, open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank, and let the water drain out into a bucket or drain. Once the tank is empty, close the valve and refill the tank with water.

Insulate the Pipes and Tank

Insulating the pipes and tank can help reduce heat loss, lower your energy bills, and prevent freezing during winter. You can purchase pre-cut insulation jackets or foam sleeves at a local hardware store. Wrap them securely around the pipes and tank, but be sure to leave the controls, thermostat, and relief valve exposed.

Check the Anode Rod

The anode rod is a small part that protects the tank from rust and corrosion. Over time, it can become corroded and ineffective, which can lead to leaks or a shortened lifespan of the water heater. To check the anode rod, turn off the power and water supply, open the tank and remove the rod. If it appears to be corroded or worn down, it’s time to replace it.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

While you can handle some basic maintenance tasks, it’s important to have a professional plumber inspect your water heater once a year. They can check for leaks, replace faulty parts, test the pressure, and ensure optimal performance. Regular maintenance not only prolongs the life of your water heater but also reduces your risk of costly repairs down the line.


Investing in the maintenance of your water heater not only ensures its optimal performance but also extends its lifespan. Simple maintenance tasks like flushing the tank and checking the anode rod and pressure relief valve can go a long way toward keeping your water heater running smoothly. However, for more complex tasks or to avoid potential safety hazards, it’s best to hire a licensed plumbing professional to handle the job. With regular maintenance and professional inspection, you can enjoy hot water for years to come.