15 Sep

How To Inspect Your Water Heater

Do you know how to inspect your water heater? Inspecting your water heater regularly is a very important, but often over-looked home maintenance step. Water heaters typically last for 8-13 years, and if your water heater is over 10 years old, inspecting it at least annually is very important. 

How To Inspect Your Water Heater

Before You Start

  1. Have a bucket, hose, gloves, goggles, and protective clothing ready. Protect yourself from burns!
  2. Know where your Temperature/Pressure valve is located. 
  3. Know where your cold water inlet is located.
  4. Know where the electric or gas shut off is located.
how to inspect your water heater

Know your water heater

How To Inspect Your Water Heater Part 1: The Basics:

Do a visual inspection of your water heater.

  1. Are there any leaks? Look under the heater where the drip collection pan is (for raised water heaters.) If your water heater is on the floor look around the bottom area. Do you notice any sediment? Any standing water?
  2. Look under and around the Temperature/Pressure relief valve. Any leaks?  Corrosion? Obstructions?
  3. Check the pipes leading in and out of the water heater. Again, any leaks? Rust? Corrosion?
  4. For electric water heaters: Check the heating element. 
  5. For gas water heaters: check the venting system. Is there any damage to the vent piping? Any obstructions? Make sure anything flammable or corrosive is away from the vent system to prevent fires. Also, check the pilot light. A weak flame, split flame, or a fully yellow flame means that your pilot light needs to be repaired or adjusted.
  6. Listen: Are there any strange noises coming from your tank? Noises such as whistling or crackling? 

How To Inspect Your Water Heater Part 2: The Bigger Stuff:

  1. Turn off the electricity or gas to the heater before you start.
  2. Check the Anode Rod – The Anode Rod is your water heater’s defense against rust and corrosion. If you have hard water, checking them more often may be in order. The condition of the anode rod can tell you if your tank has corrosion occurring inside.
  3. Drain and flush the tankClick on the link for a past post instructing you on how to do this. Sediment can collect in the bottom of the tank, which can shorten the life of your water heater. 
  4. Inspect the Temperature/Relief Valve If the T/P valve ever discharges boiling water or steam, shut off your water heater immediately and give us a call. This is a safety problem. 
    • Be sure the electricity/gas is shut off
    • Shut off the cold water inlet 
    • Position the bucket to catch run off
    • Pull the trip lever on the valve. You should hear a slight hissing noise of air escaping or see some water vapor exit. If this does not happen, the valve likely needs replacing.

If you have any trouble at all, we happy to answer your questions give you some suggestions for how to inspect your water heater safely. Additionally, we are happy to guide you through how to inspect your water heater, or have one of our plumbing professionals do it for you. If you determine you need a new hot water heater, we want to be your go-to plumber. We proudly install Bradford White Water Heaters, and our water heater warranties are the best in the business. Read all about what makes Casey’s the best here.

503-620-9111 (West Side: Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and surrounding areas)

503-253-0030 (East Side: Gresham, Troutdale, West Linn and surrounding areas)

About Karen Mares

A Portlander born and raised, Karen lives in Southwest Portland with her husband and children. Karen has kept journals throughout her life, and she began her personal blog, Random Thoughts From A Suburban Mom in 2007. She hasn't stopped writing online since, channeling her passion for words and information into writing and communicating through social media and blogging.