It will happen late one night. Your hot water heater will start acting up. Maybe it will stop producing hot water or start emitting a foul smell. No matter the case, you will need to fix it, and fast. Avoid late night stress by conducting consistent maintenance on your water heater.
• If you have a gas water heater, you should periodically check the pilot light. The flame should be blue with a yellow tip. If it is yellow, this may mean you need a safety adjustment. Contact a professional to fix the problem.
• While you are under your water heater checking the pilot light, make sure there is not an excessive buildup of soot. This can cause a clogged flue, which in turn can lead to carbon monoxide leaking into your home. Thus, cleaning any soot is of vital importance!
• Sediment buildup at the bottom of your tank can cause a multitude of problems, such as causing your heater to make loud noises or hindering performance. You can avoid this by draining the water from the tank once every three months.
• Regularly check your sacrificial anode rod, a device used to attract corrosion and protect the inside of the water heater tank. Usually it is attached to the top of the tank by a hex head screw. If the steel wire in the rod’s core is exposed or the diameter of the entire rod is less than half the original ¾ inch diameter, it needs to be replaced. Note that it is common for calcium carbonate to cover the rod. This does not mean the rod is corroded and can usually be easily removed with a towel. However, if it starts to harden the rod will no longer be able to do its job and it will need to be replaced. Check for hardened calcium carbonate by bending the rod. If it flakes, you need a replacement rod.
• Have your hot water heater inspected by a contractor at a minimum once every two years. He or she can diagnose potential problems and enact easy, quick repairs, which will save you from a complete water heater replacement down the road.