Water Heater Maintenance Checklist

Prev3 of 3Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Clean the Heating Element

For gas-fueled water heaters it is good to clean the burners to improve the energy efficiency. Shut off the gas supply and remove the access panel. Vacuum out dust and debris from the combustion chamber. Use a wire brush to clean the ports of the burner.

Next inspect the flue and flame. The flue is the vent at the top of a gas-fueled water heater for exhaust. Look for any small cracks and seem them up with foil tape. Lastly, adjust the shutter until the flame burns blue. An orange flame indicates a flame that is not operating at peak efficiency.

Electric heating elements are more involved for maintenance and are much more susceptible to hard water problems since they reside in the tank. A water softener  should be seriously considered for homes with an electric water heater.

While draining sediment for electric units, completely drain the water if you plan to clean the heating elements. Make sure to shut off the water supply or the tank will keep refilling. After the water and power is removed, take off the heating elements from the bottom of the tank (usually secured by a series of bolts). Once removed, use a vinegar-based cleaner to remove buildup. If the element is already corroding, it is best to replace it. Find a match at the local hardware store.

Put the elements back in place after cleaning off scale buildup. Then turn on the power and open up the water supply. If insulation or an access panel was removed to access the elements, leave them off until the tank is completed filled with water again. This will give you the ability to visually check for leaks.

Prev3 of 3Next
Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse

Need helpful maintenance reminders?

Tyler Golberg

Tyler is the founder of Home Maintenance Tracker and a writer for HomeSpot HQ, an easy to use tool for managing maintence and projects for every house.