You and your family rely on your water heater for hot water, but you may not think about this home appliance very often. If your water heater is like many, it might be tucked in an out-of-the-way place in your basement or in a utility closet. It can be easy to take on an "out of sight, out of mind" approach when it comes to water heaters, but there are certain mistakes that can shorten the lifespan of this appliance. Avoiding replacing your water heater will likely become important to you when you consider that the national average cost of replacing a water heater is about $943. These are a few mistakes that you want to avoid making if you want to avoid buying a new water heater prematurely.
1. Ignoring Your Hard Water
Hard water, or water that has a lot of mineral deposits, can cause a lot of problems with your water heater. Over time, the hard water can cause sedimentary deposits to build up in the bottom of the water heater, which can result in the appliance itself wearing out prematurely. Not to mention, hard water can cause other problems in the home, such as clogging up plumbing lines, leaving streaks on glasses and dishes, and causing dried-out skin when you shower. If you think you have hard water in your home, consider installing a water softener to both prevent the impact on your water heater and to prevent other issues.
2. Leaving Your Water Heater on When Your Water Is Shut Off
There may be times when you need to use the shut-off valve for your water to turn off your water supply, such as if you have a leak somewhere in your home or if you are going to be leaving your home for an extended period of time and don't want to worry about flooding while you're gone. If you do turn your water supply off, make sure that you turn your water heater off, too, since a lack of water in the tank can cause damage to some models.
3. Failing to Drain Your Water Heater
No matter how well you take care of your water heater, you can expect for rust and deposits to build up in the tank over time. To help prevent this, you may need to drain the water out with a water hose annually. Some models are self-cleaning, however, so refer to your manual to determine if you need to drain your tank, and if so, to get tips for draining the tank properly.