The biggest mistake average homeowners make is not reading the water heater manufacturer’s instructions. They are specifically designed to help you extend the life of your water heater and protect it from preventable damage.
The most common recommendation by manufacturers and plumbers is to drain the tank at least once a year and preferably twice. If you have the manufacturer’s instructions, it is recommended that you follow them specifically for a gas or electric water heater.
Most homeowners are unaware that manufacturer warranties are based on the life expectancy of the Anode Rod inside the water heater. Rods are made from magnesium, aluminum or aluminum/zinc alloy. Most water heater tanks are steel with a thin glass lining to protect the metal from corrosion. The lining eventually cracks but the tanks have a second line of defense against rust which is a long metal “anode rod” that attracts corrosive elements in the water. When the rod itself becomes so corroded that it can no longer do its job, the tank soon rusts out, leaks and needs to be replaced. However, if you replace your anode rod before it fails, about every five years, you can double the life of your water heater.
It is common for dust to collect around the bottom of the water heater. For gas water heaters, it is important to keep the surrounding area free from dust and clutter. Gas units must breathe in order to function properly. We recommend cleaning under and around the gas water heater annually or quarterly if it is located in the laundry room. Manufacturers require that you keep a certain amount of space around the water heater free of any objects, especially anything that is FLAMMABLE. Refer to manufacturer’s instructions.
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