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Water Heater Maintenance Checklist

Ensure the safe and good working condition of water heaters through regular water heater maintenance

Published 18 Dec 2020

What is Water Heater Maintenance?

Water heater maintenance is the regular preventive maintenance of water heaters used for commercial and residential buildings. Conducted by contractors, facility managers, and homeowners using checklists, water heater maintenance keeps energy consumption efficient, prolongs the optimal working condition of water heaters, and promotes safety by proactively catching issues before accidents can occur.

Accidents involving heating equipment, including water heaters, caused thousands of home fires and millions in damages. Conducting regular water heater maintenance can help prevent these and other types of accidents involving water heaters from happening.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

The Dangers of Neglecting Water Heater Maintenance

For gas-fired water heaters, fatal accidents can occur if water heaters are not regularly checked for issues such as potential gas leaks. As for water heaters with tanks, they have safety features that allow excess temperature and pressure to escape when there’s too much buildup. But if these safety features are not properly checked by professionals who make sure they are still in good working condition, tank explosions can happen.

Water heaters can usually last for a decade without any maintenance. Conducting regular water heater maintenance, however, can help extend the good working condition of water heaters and help discover issues that could’ve gone unnoticed due to neglect. Water heaters with tanks can have sediment buildup over time especially in areas where hard water is more common and this sediment buildup will negatively affect the efficiency of energy spent on heating water.

How Often Should Water Heaters be Maintained?

For industrial or commercial water heaters, annual maintenance is ideal while every six months is recommended for home use water heaters. Consider doing the maintenance during autumn just before water gets colder and needs more warmth from water heaters to reach the desired temperature. Also, if hard water is used in your area, water heater maintenance should be done more often in order to properly flush and drain the tank in order to remove mineral buildup and formed sediments.

During water heater maintenance, it is crucial to check any manufacturer’s warnings and follow the water heater maintenance checklist intended for your water heater. By heeding the warnings and following the recommended steps on the checklist, you can help ensure that the maintenance is done safely and correctly.

What is a Water Heater Maintenance Checklist?

Used by professional service providers or contractors, facility managers, and homeowners, a water heater maintenance checklist serves as a guide on what to do and what to check during water heater maintenance.

This water heater maintenance checklist is broken down into 5 steps:

  1. Turn off the water heater
    Prevent scalding and other water heater-related injuries by turning off the water heater and allowing the water to cool down overnight before performing the water heater maintenance.
  2. Check the valves and look for possible leaks on pipes and joints
    Check the Temperature and Pressure (T&P) relief valve following the manufacturer’s recommendations on its label. Check the water pressure valve and make sure that it shows the recommended water pressure (40-60 psi in the daytime).

    A useful tip when looking for possible leaks: apply soapy water on pipes and pipe joints and bubbles will appear should there be a leak.

  3. Flush any sediment buildup
    Connect a hose to the drain valve before you begin draining and flushing out sediment buildup. Eliminating sediment buildup will help with water heating efficiency and prolong the good working condition of the water heater.
  4. Check the anode rod and replace if needed
    An anode rod’s purpose is to protect the water heater lining and the inside of a water heater tank from damage and corrosion. Anode rods need to be checked during maintenance to ensure that they have not corroded yet. Depending on factors such as the hardness of the water and how much water goes through the water heater, an anode rod may need to be replaced every 3-5 years.
  5. Refill the water heater tank
    Refill the water heater tank by closing the drain valve and opening the cold water supply valve. Open a hot water faucet and let the water out for around 3-5 minutes to make sure that there’s no air remaining in the tank before you turn the water heater back on.

Please note that it is important to check the manufacturer’s instructions on the use and maintenance of the water heater and that it is advisable to get a professional who is familiar with conducting water heater maintenance if you are not comfortable doing it on your own.

Powerful Tool for Effective Water Heater Maintenance

iAuditor by SafetyCulture is a powerful inspection app that can help professional technicians, facility managers, and homeowners effectively use water heater maintenance checklists during regular water heater maintenance. With water heater maintenance checklists on iAuditor app, you can do the following:

Proactive Water Heater Maintenance

  • Select which dates to conduct water heater maintenance and you will receive notifications as a reminder when the next schedule is due
  • Be aware if a scheduled water heater maintenance was skipped

Mobile Inspections

  • Take photos of issues and be guided on what action to take
  • Make notes to better describe the nature of the issue found during maintenance checks

Efficient Recordkeeping

  • All maintenance and inspections are automatically saved in cloud-based recordkeeping for your convenience and security
  • Maintenance reports can be generated on the spot and sent to intended recipients via weblink or PDF

Streamline Water Heater Maintenance Jobs

  • Business owners and contractors, you can assign water heater inspection jobs, automate the collection of reports from multiple jobs, and analyze trends.
  • Integrate iAuditor with other platforms and systems used in your organization to streamline water heater maintenance and other maintenance checks for HVAC, plumbing, pressure vessel, pumps, furnace, and more.
SafetyCulture staff writer

Erick Brent Francisco

Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.

Erick Brent Francisco is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture since 2018. As a content specialist, he is interested in learning and sharing how technology can improve work processes and workplace safety. His experience in logistics, banking and financial services, and retail helps enrich the quality of information in his articles.