The most common cause of lost efficiency for a water heater is due to a sediment buildup in your tank.  As water heaters grow older, they accumulate sediment and lime deposits.  If these deposits are not removed periodically, the sediment will create a barrier between the burner and the water, greatly reducing the water heater’s performance level.  The result is an increase in the amount of fuel required to deliver hot water.  For this reason, it is recommended that the storage tank in the water heater be drained and flushed free of any sediment every 12 months.  This service will bring your water heater back to original manufacturer’s specifications.