shutterstock_113697670We rely on it for our daily shower among many other essential things, but rarely do we think about performing any maintenance on it. That is, until it stops working properly.

That’s right – I am talking about a household’s hot water service. Although all major or serious repairs should always be performed by a professional plumbing service, there are a few things that you can do on a regular basis to extend the life of your hot water service. With a little bit of maintenance, you can keep your water heater performing better for much longer:

  • Always keep the water heater air vents clear of leaves, grass and other rubbish. Because air is sucked from the bottom, clogged or dirty vents make it easy for debris to be carried up into system and put strain on it by forcing the system to work harder. Sweep the area regularly to reduce dust build up and keep the water heater running efficiently.
  • Release the temperature and pressure relief valve every six months. This prevents any pressure from building up in the hot water service, which has the potential to cause an explosion. Always check for signs of leaking water, as this is a good indication that the part will need to be replaced.

  • Flush out the insides of the system with fresh water to remove any built-up sediment on the bottom of the tank. To do this, turn off power to the water heater and attach a hose to the bottom drain, letting all the water run out. However we recommend that you make sure all animals and children are out of the way before starting. Attach the water hose to the spigot and turn open the valve (a screwdriver may be needed in some cases) and let water flush through for about an hour.
  • Check all metal valves, pipes and connections for signs of rust: if you find signs of flaking, serious problems are at hand and you should call a professional for advice. Attending to these problems immediately can reduce the risk of costly repairs.

You should always remember that all major water heater repairs, faults and replacement parts should only be completed to by a registered, professional plumber. Working on a pressurised appliance is unsafe for the untrained handyman as explosions can easily occur. It’s fine to dust, clean and relight the pilot light, but always leave serious maintenance for the plumber – keep away from the internals and keep yourself safe.