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    3 Ways to Extend the Life Span of Your Water Heater

    A water heater
    When it comes to home appliances, few face as punishing of conditions as your water heater. For one thing, a water heater regularly experiences extreme temperature changes. On top of that, a water heater remains constantly exposed to one of the most corrosive substances in your home — water.

    These factors place a lot of wear and tear on a water heater as time goes on. Yet a well-maintained water heater can still provide many years of serviceable use. If you would like to learn more about what it takes to get the most from this system, keep reading. This article outlines three effective ways to extend the life span of a home water heater.

    1. Add Insulation

    Water heaters come in two main types — gas and electric — which differ in the source of energy used to heat the water. In either case, the more frequently a water heater has to run, the more wear and tear its heating components face. Electric heating elements weaken over time, while gas burners accumulate problematic deposits.

    A water heater's heating components often have to work much harder as the result of standby loss. Standby loss occurs as the water in your tank naturally cools. In order to keep the tank's temperature at the pre-set level, the heating elements have to turn on periodically.

    You can greatly reduce the effect of standby loss by insulating your water heater. Insulation with an R-value of no less than 24 can reduce standby loss by as much as 45 percent according to Energy.gov. As a result, your water heater will run less frequently, thus accumulating wear and tear at a slower rate. Insulating your tank also reduces heating costs by up to 16 percent.

    2. Flush Your Tank

    Pretty much all water contains a certain percentage of dissolved minerals — magnesium and calcium, in particular. When the mineral content rises past 60 ppm, the water is said to be hard. Most people can safely assume that they have a hard water supply. While hard water minerals don't pose any threat to your health, they can create problems for a water heater over time.

    The heat inside of your tank causes the dissolved minerals to precipitate — in other words, to turn back into a solid form. These minerals then build up at the bottom of the tank, forming a layer of sediment. This sediment acts as an unintended and unhelpful layer of insulation, making it harder for your heating element to raise the water temperature.

    As a result, your water tank has to run for longer periods of time in order to heat your water. You can restore proper functioning by flushing your tank. This process involves turning off the heater and draining all of its water, thus flushing out the sediment as well. If you don't feel comfortable undertaking this task yourself, contact an experienced plumber.

    3. Install a Sediment Filter

    Gas-powered water heater experience a different type of sediment problem as well. The stream of natural gas flowing into such a water heater often contains minute particles of naturally occurring sediment. If these particles make it all the way into the burner chamber, they can create clogs and other problems.

    Fortunately, you can avoid sediment-related trouble by installing a sediment filter on your water heater's gas line. Installed near the heater's inlet, the sediment filter works by introducing a 90 degree bend to the gas flow. This change of direction routes any physical debris into the sediment trap.

    Water heaters have a naturally tough job to perform. By taking care of the system correctly, you can do much to extend its working life span. For more information about how best to maintain your water heater, contact San Francisco's plumbing pros at King Trenchless.