Whether brand new or years old, knowing a little bit about your hot water system’s required maintenance goes a long way. Some maintenance you can do yourself, other things you should keep an eye on, and the rest needs to be performed by a licensed plumber during periodic servicing. Even if you choose not to perform any maintenance yourself you should still learn enough so that you know when you need to call in someone to do it for you. Most people wait until a problem arises but if you don’t want to be stuck with inconsistent water temperature or no hot water at all it’s better to learn what things to check and what signs to look out for before the problem becomes serious.
The first and easiest thing to learn is how often you need to get your hot water system serviced. There’s two ways you can find this out, either by asking the person installing it or checking your product manual. These days most manuals can be found online and if you can’t find it you can always call or email the manufacturer directly. If you are using a hot water system that was installed before you moved in and can’t find out the service history it’s best to get it serviced as soon as possible. After the plumber has given your hot water system the all clear you can create a new service schedule and they should be able to give you an idea of how many years it’s got left in it working at its best.
When you have your hot water system installed or serviced ask your plumber to show you how to safely test your temperature pressure release valve. You can find a lot of guides and tutorials online, including from many manufacturers but it can help to see it performed in person. It’s quite a straight forward procedure and should be performed roughly every 6-12 months but always check with your manufacturer for the most accurate information. Temperature pressure release valves are a safety feature of hot water systems that do exactly what the name suggests, they release built up pressure that accumulates in order to prevent that pressure from causing damage to your hot water system. This process does involve expelling very hot water though so it’s really important you learn to do this safely and with care but other than that it is very simple to perform.
The other thing main to watch out for if you have a storage hot water system is the sacrificial anode. A sacrificial anode is a metal rod place inside the tank which exists to attract any minerals in your water that would otherwise corrode the tank itself. Instead, the sacrificial anode will corrode and rust. It has its limits though and as soon as its surface is fully corroded, the minerals in your water will begin corroding your tank. The damage done once your tank starts corroding is irreversible so you must have your sacrificial anode changed by a plumber before it gets to that point. Every few years should suffice but inspecting it more frequently just to be safe is a good habit to get into as factors like water quality can reduce its lifespan.