Have you been thinking about replacing your water heater lately? It’s an important question, especially if your unit has been releasing strange noises, or you’re not getting the same amount of water that you used to. However, before you pull the trigger on that upgrade, it’s important to make sure you’re actually getting the most you can out of your current system.
Most tank water heaters can last 12 years, as long as you perform consistent maintenance on them, i.e. flushing the tank out to get rid of sediment, hiring a technician ASAP if they are experiencing an issue, etc. Tank water heaters are also relatively affordable if you do need an upgrade. Tankless water heaters are a little more expensive, but they require less maintenance, and can last up to 20 years. So the good news is, as long as your water heater receives regular service, it’s likely to be a solid investment. But to reiterate, you should still do everything you can to get the most out of that investment. Keep reading for some helpful tips to make your water heater last longer and work better, courtesy of our water heater experts at EnviroSafe.
4 Easy Ways to Help Your Water Heater Last Longer
- Always Buy the Right Size: A water heater that’s too big for your house will cycle on and off frequently, using unnecessary energy and probably exhausting itself before its time. A water heater that’s too small, on the other hand, will strain to provide adequate hot water for your family, and will therefore also run itself into the ground earlier. Talking to a professional to make sure your unit is sized correctly is key. As a rule of thumb, for one or two people, a tank water heater that holds 20-30 gallons is good. 30-50 is about right for families of four, and if there are five-plus individuals in your household, you will want to go up to 60 gallons, if not more.
- Make Sure You Have a Good Thermostat: A thermostat that can adequately tell you the temperature of your water is key for making sure the heating elements stay in good shape. Lots of water heaters have thermostats, but it’s never a bad idea to upgrade to a better one—especially if your current thermostat isn’t giving accurate readings. Remember, this is a safety issue as well, so if you believe your water heater’s thermostat is off, call a professional today.
- Don’t Use Too Much Hot Water: Everyone loves a hot shower, but using gallons of hot water every day is a great way to cut your water heater’s life short. Try to use cold water when you turn on the tap as much as you can, and limit shower times to under ten minutes—especially if you have a big family, where everyone needs to get some hot water. It may be a pain, but doing this in winter is particularly helpful, as this is when your water heater has to work hardest to provide the hot water you need.
- Flush Out Your Water Heater Tank Semi-Annually: We know we mentioned this above, but it’s hard to overstate just how important this task is. When sediment and limescale build-up on the bottom of your tank, the whole machine has to work harder, and eventually, the metal itself is likely to wear down. Flushing out your tank regularly ensures this doesn’t happen (this is assuming you have a tank water heater; tankless heaters need to be flushed out by a professional.) It’s not a bad idea to get a whole-house water filter either, especially if you live in an area with hard water. Keep in mind, installing some type of water conditioner will also help your water taste better, plus it will feel better on your skin and make sure other items in your house don’t get worn down too, so there is really now downside to it.