Your water heater is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home. You may not think of it often, since it’s likely silent and out of sight in a closet or basement, but remembering to inspect and maintain your water heater will help to ensure your family’s comfort and safety.

Though several different kinds of water heaters are available, including tankless models, the majority of American homes rely on traditional water heaters. This type of water heater typically lasts for around 10 years, but you can extend the life of your equipment with just a little effort.

To keep your traditional water heater in top condition, start by simply taking a look at it. Check the tank for staining, flaking paint, corrosion and rust. Though water heaters usually have effective rust protection inside the tank, there is normally very little protection on the outside, and external rust can lead to leaks.

Beyond basic inspection of the outside of your traditional water heater, there are two important steps you can take to maintain your equipment: periodically draining your tank to remove sediment and testing the temperature and pressure release (T&P) valve.

It is normal for sediment to build up as your water heater operates, and regular removal of this sediment will help to prevent rust and corrosion and improve efficiency. How often you should drain your tank depends on the water quality in your area, but the average frequency is between 6 months and 1 year.

Also keep in mind that your water heater’s T&P valve is critical for preventing explosions — it automatically releases water at certain pressure levels so that the tank will not explode from overpressure.

A Blind & Sons technician can ensure that your water heater is in good condition, beyond what you can see on the surface. Keep in mind that if your water heater is not venting properly or begins to back draft, deadly carbon monoxide can enter your home. These fumes are odorless and colorless, so it is important to install a carbon monoxide detector near your water heater and rely on the experts at Blind & Sons to keep your equipment safe and efficient.

Sources: About.com, Living with My Home