Electric Water Heater Maintenance: Simple Tips to Maximize Performance


Electric water heater maintenance is an important step if you want to get the longest life out of your water heater.

The two most critical functions are checking the pressure relief valve and flushing the tank of sediment. Both of these functions should be performed at least every six to twelve months.

Before beginning any electric water heater maintenance project, it is important that you turn off the electricity to the water heater at the circuit breaker and turn off the cold-water inlet to the water heater. You should also wear safety goggles, gloves and other protective clothing.

To check the pressure relief valve, put a bucket below the drainpipe that’s attached to the pressure relief valve. Once the bucket is in place, pull the trip lever on the valve. You should hear a rush of air and see either water or water vapor leaving the pressure relief valve drain pipe. If you don’t hear or see anything, proceed to drain the tank and replace the valve or call a plumber.

To flush the tank of sediment, once again, make sure that the power and water inlet valves are turned off. It is a good idea to let the water in the tank cool for a few hours before you drain the tank. Attach a garden hose to the faucet drain and make sure that the end is positioned by a drain or outside the house.

Go to a sink in a different room and run the hot water for a minute or two to allow air to enter the water heater tank. Finally, open the faucet drain and let the tank drain completely. It is also a good idea to turn the cold water inlet on and off a few times to help remove any sediment left at the bottom of the tank.

When the water runs clear out of the hose, close the faucet, remove the hose, open the water intake valve and turn the power on to your electric water heater.