Electric Water Heater Maintenance

Electric water heater maintenance is preventive and one of the must to do operations to protect and increase your water heater performance and have dependable worry-free service.

For the electric heater we recommended two routine maintenance tasks that are not complicate to apply; drain or flush the heater and testing the pressure relief valve.

First of all, our suggestion is to read a manual carefully, the best will be a day before you perform the maintenance, so you can prepare all the necessary tools.

How to drain/flush your heater

One of the major problems with tank type electric heaters are all the lime sediments, dirt and minerals sitting at the bottom of your heater. Most of the complaints is coming just because of the hard water, the main cause for this kind of problem, affecting the efficiency, hot water output and durability of the heating unit.

One of the preventions is to install a water softener. If this is expensive for you, than once a year or every six months electric water heater maintenance might be enough. Draining is simple and it keeps the heating system running smoothly.

The drain valve is located at the lowest point of the electric heater. Before you start maintenance, turn off the water using shut off valve and electricity on the circuit breaker.

You will need a garden hose and a bucket and if water is still hot, gloves. Connect a hose and open the drain valve to release the water from your electrical heater, into the bucket, floor drain or outside.

Pressure release valve needs to be opened, so air will get into the tank, and water can drain out smoothly. The other way is to open the faucet.

Don't be surprised if you see dirty water, it is normal. This is because of all the minerals and sediments that had built up.

Depends on the capacity of the storage tank, wait till it is empty, it can be up to 45 min. Be sure to put the other end of the hose in an area that won't be damaged by scalding hot water.

Flush the rest of sediments out with turning on the water to the tank, and when the drained water is clear, you are done. Use a bucket for this purpose.

To refill it again, close the pressure release valve and drain valve and open the main valve to let the water in. The electrical heater has to be full with water and only then you can run it.

First part of the electrical water heater maintenance is done.

Test pressure release valve

  • The pressure relief valve is an important safety feature, located at the top of your electrical heater, with a drain tube. If there is too much pressure built up in the tank it opens to relieve the pressure.

  • Check the pressure relief valve twice a year. If it doesn't work, pressure is build up when the heater is running and it can cause an explosion.

  • Shut off the electricity.

  • Turn off cold water supply to your electrical heater.

  • Put a bucket under the drain tube of the pressure release valve.

  • Lift the lever on the pressure release valve for a few seconds. If there is no vapor, air or water coming out, or it doesn't shut off, you have to replace it. Be careful as the vapor coming out is hot.

  • Replacing the pressure release valve can be combined with previous step when the tank is empty and before you flush the heater.

Preventive inspection

Periodic preventive inspection of operating controls, heating elements and wiring should also be part of your maintenance schedule.

The anode rod that is used to protect tank from corrosion, should be removed from the electric heater once a year for inspection and maintenance. Since it is slowly consumed, it has to be replaced once it stops working properly.

If the heater is to remain idle for a while (you are on a vacation for example), the electrical power and water should be turned off. If it is winter time, the heating system should be drained as it might freeze.

If the rotten egg odor exists in the heater tank, one solution is chlorination of the water supply.

Electric water heater maintenance is not difficult to do and it doesn't take more than few hours. The result will be better performance, trouble free heating service and plenty of hot water for your shower and dishes.