Common Hot Water Heater Maintenance Items

Staying up to date on hot water heater maintenance is akin to following the service manual for your vehicle. It ensures the longest possible life for the hot water heater while also reducing the possibility of unexpected failures.

For common items to be looking for with respect to known trouble areas for hot water heaters, read our page on hot water heater troubleshooting.

Common Maintenance Items for Hot Water Tanks (Gas and Electric)

  • Anode rod: The purpose of the anode rod (made of zinc) is to corrode so that your tank does not. It is crucial to check the rod and replace when needed. Replacement may be required if there is more than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed, if the rod is less than 1/2 inch thick, or if the rod is coated with calcium.
  • Flush and clean the tank: Depending on how hard the water is in your area this may need to be done up to two times per year. Cleaning the sediment out of your water tank will contribute to a longer and more efficient life for your hot water heater.
  • Test the temperature-pressure relief valve: While extremely rare, hot water tanks can explode. The purpose of your temperature-pressure relief valve is to prevent this from happening. Quickly discharge the valve two or three times to ensure it is working. Keep an eye out for small leaks from the valve afterwards.


Common Maintenance Items for Tankless Water Heaters

  • Remove lime scale – As part of the ongoing maintenance make sure that the heat exchanger elements are free of limescale buildup. Even when it looks like minimal coating on your heat exchanger, it can have a serious impact on the efficiency of the system leading to possibly a short lifespan of your tankless water heater.
  • Rinse the filter – Tankless water heaters, while immensely more efficient than most of the “tank” versions of the same in BC today, require diligent maintenance of some items. The filter is one of those items. Build up in the filter can disrupt the flow of water, lowering the pressure of the water. That’s best case scenario. Worst case? A complete failure of the tankless water heater.
  • Check for sediment, remove if present – Sediment settling on the heating elements, intake/outflow valves, and the activation mechanism. Sediment seems innocuous enough, but if left on the activation mechanism your hot water heater may operate constantly or uncontrollably. In this case, it could be as minor as arbitrarily and unnecessarily raising your utility bills, or it could lead to the premature burnout of the water heater.

As part of our CampbellCare Club program, an annual hot water heater tune up is included in the cost of the membership. We recommend that homeowners who are uncomfortable or unable to perform the above maintenance items themselves book a hot water heater tune-up.