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Water Heater

Maintenance tips for your
water heater

A water heater provides all of the hot water to a home's plumbing system.

How does a water heater work?

  • How It Works: Electric Water Heater

    How It Works: Electric Water Heater

    How It Works: Gas Water Heater

    How It Works: Gas Water Heater

How to care for your water heater

1. Drain a couple of gallons of water from the water heater once or twice a year

Water tank valve

This will remove natural sediment buildup that can reduce energy efficiency. Follow your owner's manual instructions for the proper way to do this.

2. Set the water heater temperature to what's appropriate for your home to maximize efficiency

Water tank temperature

Every water heater has an adjustable temperature setting. Most people keep water heaters at a much higher setting than is necessary for their needs. This means they are wasting energy keeping water exceptionally hot for most of every day – while they are sleeping, at work, walking their dogs, etcetera. A setting of 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48 degrees Celsius) is generally sufficient and safe for most households.

3. Set to "vacation" when away

Vacation setting

If you go on vacation or are away for your home for an extended period, set your water heater to its "vacation" setting, if equipped. This will reduce energy consumption considerably

4. Replace the temperature and pressure relief valve in the event of any leakage from the valve

Pressure Relief Valve

Water heater frequently asked questions

The average life expectancy of a water heater is 10-15 years. Life expectancy of a water heater is reduced when the incoming water is full of minerals, when a water heater's temperature setting is consistently higher than in necessary or when the water heater operates in an unheated room (such as a garage).

No, any moisture or puddles of water on top of the heater or on the floor beside the water heater is a warning sign that there is a problem.

Natural gas water heaters use about half the energy of a propane or an electric water heater. If you don't have gas available, you can try a heat pump water heater. Relatively new on the market, these electric water heaters use about 40 percent less energy than standard electric water heaters.