San Mateo HVAC Services | Water Heater Checklist


It goes without saying that we take advantage of our water heaters. We don’t fully appreciate the fact that we can hop into a bathtub or shower and with a flick of the wrist have warm water gushing down on us. Although, a few of us have experienced the dreaded broken water heater syndrome. You step into the shower anticipating the warm water flowing over you only to be greeted by what feels like freezing cold needles. Water heaters can be finicky and need to have attention paid to them. Did you know your water heater has a life expectancy of 25 years, but most water heaters only last 10 years? That sounds crazy, but it’s true, and the reason for this large discrepancy is because routine inspections and maintenance are not often performed on this important household appliance. In order to make sure you get the most out of your water heater and continue to experience warm water, you’ll want to pull out the checklist below to sporadically inspect your water heater.

    1. Look at your water heater to find basic information like the manufacturer and its capacity. You may need this information in a rush if you have an emergency, so it’s important to have it readily available. Post this information nearby the heater.
    2. Do you see rust or corrosion? If you do see rust, make note of the area in which you see it and call a professional to further inspect the affected area. If you catch corrosion early enough you can usually get the issue fixed for a relatively low price as opposed to paying thousands of dollars later when the heater breaks down due to the corrosion.
    3. Check the main water line for any leaks. If you do find a leak, attempt to figure out how large the hole is. If you feel comfortable, and the hole is not too large, see if you can’t fix it yourself. If you’re not comfortable with fixing these types of issues, call an experienced water heater professional and they can fix the leak for you relatively quick.
    4. Check the water temperature settings. Is the water too hot? This can cause the heater to overwork itself attempting to reach high temperatures that you don’t even need. If you do find that the temperature setting is too high, turn it down. The same goes for col water. If the water is not warm enough, turn it up to where it is comfortable for you. However, please be cautious and never set the temperature gauge above 130 degrees.
    5. Look for leaks in general (all over the heater). Leaks don’t just happen in the main water line. Analyze every inch of the water heater for leaks. Again, early detection can save you a huge bill in the future. If you do find leaks, call a professional to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

You should never have to maneuver your water heater to do any type of inspection, including the list above. If you do have to for some reason, you should enlist a professional for their help and expertise. By doing routine inspections you should be able to catch any number of abnormalities that can pose problems in the future. If you find any abnormalities (i.e. cracks, leaks, rust, etc.) fix the problems immediately to prevent costly repairs in the long run. It is also a best practice to have a professional come in a few times a year to inspect the hard-to-reach areas to look for potential problems.