Water Heater Care and Maintenance

There are a lot of dos and don’ts associated with water heater care and maintenance. What do I do to extend the life of my water heater? How do I know when its time to replace it? What can I do myself, and when should I call a plumber?

These are all very good questions. However, some of this can be in a grey area as there is no definitive answer. The best thing to do is call your plumbing professional to assess the situation as each situation is unique depending on the age and brand of your water heater.

Here are a few easy tips I have given to help answer these questions. Again, they are meant for a guide to helping you, but it is always best to call Jolly Rooter because we do FREE Water Heater inspections!


The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-12 years. If you don’t believe me, ask your Google Assistant, or Siri. Some can last as little as 6 years, and others as long as 20 years or more depending on how much use it is getting as well as the quality of your water. If your water heater is 20 years old however, we highly recommend that you replace it immediately because at this point you are living on borrowed time, and if that tank springs a leak, it could cost thousands of dollars in water damage to your home and property.


A very popular method of expanding the life of your water heater is to flush it once or twice a year. This is supposed to extend the life of your water heater. This can work great sometimes by getting the old sediment out of your water heater. If your water heater is more than 5 years old and you have never flushed it, we do not recommend doing so without guidance from a professional. Often times, when you touch an old water heater’s drain valve that hasn’t been opened for many years or has never been opened, IT MAY FAIL! Many times, I have seen these drain valves fail and leak after they have been opened. The older your water heater is, the more of a chance this will happen. And especially if your drain valve is made of plastic. If your drain valve is made of plastic, I do not recommend attempting to drain your water heater without a professional. Time and time again I have seen these plastic drain valves fail and I have replaced them with new ones made from brass.

As Draining and flushing your water heater can be good for it, we do not recommend that you attempt to do this yourself unless you are 100% comfortable doing so. If you have any doubts, always consult with your professional, and remember Jolly Rooter gives FREE Water Heater inspections as well as FREE estimates.


Knowing when to repair vs. replace your water heater is very important. In my career I have seen some dishonest plumbing companies sell customers a brand-new water heater when all that was necessary was a repair. Most things on a water heater can be repaired. If your water heater won’t stay lit, isn’t producing hot water, or is leaking from a connection, most the time it can be repaired. The components of a water heater can be replaced most of the time when parts are available. The only time it must absolutely be replaced is when it is leaking from the tank itself. This cannot be repaired. It can also cause property loss or damage. If your water heater is leaking call a professional right away.

With that being said, we talked earlier about the lifespan of a water heater being 8-12 years. Once you start repairing the components in the water heater, chances are your tank may go out eventually as well. So, by no means wait until the water heater floods your home or garage before you decide to replace it.

I hope this helps answer any questions you have about your water heater.

Rich Jolly

Jolly Rooter

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