Regular Hot Water Tank Maintenance

What Your Tank Needs, and When

Hot water tanks are one of those items on the radar of homeowners as a large possibly investment in the coming years. The average lifespan of a hot water tank is 8-10 years, therefore most homeowners will need to install a new one during their time in any given house.

But with regular maintenance, you can keep your water heater running smoothly for longer, pushing the need for that investment back by a fair bit. Here are the regular maintenance tasks you should be performing to ensure that your water heater will last as long as possible:


Annually: Drain Your Tank

Hot water tank
We recommend draining the sediment from your tank on a yearly basis. Do this by attaching a hose to the drain and placing a large bucket under the end of the hose, opening the drain, and letting the tank drain for 2-5 minutes. Be aware that the water coming out the tank will be hot — the same temperature as if you were running the water on hot at the sink. If you keep your water heater turned up high, you may want to turn it down a day or so before draining. Regardless, exercise caution while draining your tank to avoid burns.

The sediment you will see drain from the tank is due to hard water build-up. Please note that if you have a water softener in your home, this annual draining is not necessary.


Every Two Years: Clean the Combustion Chamber

We recommend opening up the combustion chamber every couple of years to give it a good cleaning. This simply means vacuuming it out to remove dust, dead insects and any other debris that has collected there. This can be done at the same time as draining your tank, only every second year instead of annually.


Every 3-5 Years: Change Your Anode Rods

Not familiar with anode rods? Start here. These “sacrificial anodes,” made of magnesium or aluminum, are present within the tank to spare the interior the damage of constant water contact— the minerals eat away at the anodes instead. However, this only last for three to five years — less if you have a water softener, due to the higher sodium content of the water. To prevent water damage to the interior of your hot water tank and extend its life potentially by years, you should have your plumbing professional replace the anode rods about this often.


General Maintenance

To get as many years as possible out of your water heater, follow the above maintenance schedule, and on an everyday basis, keep the temperature at a reasonable level — having the tank cranked to scalding hot all the time can really shorten your water heater’s life. If you’re going away for a week or more, turn the dial right down to the Vacation setting to save energy and lengthen the tank’s life even more.

If you follow these tips, along with regular maintenance visits from your Calgary plumber, your water heater could potentially last 12, 14, even 15 years. Call us today to book your anode replacement if you’re due!