Your water heater is an example of one of the many household appliances that you don't really think about until something goes wrong with it. Think about how often you rely on this often-hidden household necessity, though. From your morning shower and preparing dinner to making sure that your kids are clean before they go to bed and knocking out the dinner dishes before you turn in the night, your water heater is an appliance whose longevity can be extended by instituting a few maintenance tips. 

1. Complete a temperature assessment

One of the most common signs that your water heater needs maintenance is a change in the temperature of your water. When you turn on your faucets or take a shower, is the water noticeably hotter or colder than it used to be?

2. Complete a visual inspection

There are also a number of visual clues that will alert you to the possibly of your water heater needing service. Any drips or puddles could signal a leak. The presence of rust on the outside of the tank is also cause for concern. These signs should prompt you to call a qualified plumbing to professionally assess the problem. 

3. Check the burner flame

Gas water heaters have an additional item that needs to be checked: the burner flame. If your water heater is working correctly, the flame should appear to be mostly blue. The prescence of a flame that is primarily orange or yellow is a sign that your heating element is not working efficiently. It needs to be either adjusted or replaced. 

4. Open and close the pressure relief valve

The pressure relief valve provides a method of releasing excess pressure. If it sticks and doesn't work properly, the pressure inside your tank could build up enough to cause it to explode. Locate your pressure relief valve and ensure that it opens and closes smoothly. 

5. Flush the tank

Before completing this maintenance tip, turn the circuit breaker to the water heater off and turn the cold water inlet off. Screw a hose to the drain outlet that is long enough to reach a floor drain or outside before opening the pressure relief valve. This step helps remove sediment that can cause your water heater to malfunction over time. 

Steve's Plumbing and Heating is your Wausau, WIsconsin Rapids, Marshfield and Steven's Point, WI plumbing expert. Contact them today with your plumbing questions and issues.