Very often, tank failure and leaks are due to rusting. However, proper installation, maintenance and adjustment will keep your water heater rust-free and operating at peak efficiency. Follow these steps to ensure a healthy water heater.
- Check that your tank’s anode rod has sufficient sacrificial metal remaining on its steel wire core. Replace it when necessary.
- If you have copper or brass water heater connections (hot, cold and recirculating loop lines), change them over to dielectric unions and plastic lined steel nipples. This will reduce this electrolytic corrosion.
- Make sure the bottom of your tank is sediment-free. When sediment accumulates in a gas heater, it forms a barrier between the water and the flame, slowing heat transfer. It also weakens the steel tank bottom and exposes it to water—and to potential rusting.
- Check that your tank’s surroundings aren’t harmful to the tank (avoid salt, chlorine, or other corrosive chemicals).
- Keep your heater as dry as possible. Make sure plumbing fittings are in good condition (such as the drain valve, heating elements, and hot and cold connections).
- Consider your tank’s age before getting maintenance performed. A newer heater will have a sufficient anode rod, but an older heater may need a new anode. Also check for a damaged dip tube and for recalcitrant drains on an older unit.