Maintaining Your Water Heater

With regular maintenance a water heater can last for many years before it needs to be replaced. This is a page about maintaining your water heater.


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February 1, 2005

MY electric bill dropped thirty dollars last month when I changed the heating elements and put a cover on my hot water heater. The lower element was burnt out so the upper had to work overtime, plus the loss of heat because of no cover. Live and learn.

By Reta

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Date your installation! A hot water heater sits quietly in a closet, basement or garage. Forgotten until it breaks. Well, when our hot water heater needed to be replaced, I was left with water on my basement floor and in a panic to get a replacement. This could have been prevented if I knew when it was installed.

My husband keeps all the paperwork but as years go by, well, it gets forgotten. Whenever I have an installation, I write the date and the installer in a black permanent marker on the unit. As time goes by, I can keep better tabs on the unit and plan for a new hot water heater purchase at a saving, before it breaks.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 21, 2012

When leaving a water heater inactive for a long term, such as months at a time, is it recommended to turn "off" the breaker to the heater to keep the sulfur buildup from making it smell like "rotten eggs"?


By Phil


December 23, 20120 found this helpful

If the water heater isn't being used you need to disconnect it from the electrical supply, turn off the breaker if it is not supplying electricity to any other outlet, and then drain the water heater.

Draining the water heater keeps mold and other ickys from forming in the unit, and protects an immersed element if your heater uses that type element.

The sulphur smell in the water is a chemical reaction to the build up of minerals on the element in contact with water-because you are smelling it, you must have an immersion element, so drain that heater.

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December 26, 20120 found this helpful

The Environmental Protection Agency recommends turning off your hot water heater if you are away from home for 3 days or more. It saves energy.


I belong to the Grange, a fraternal non profit organization dedicated to community service and a better life for rural American's. We have a Grange Hall. Because we usually only use the hall once a month, we keep the water heater turned off the rest of the month. It doesn't take long for the water to be heated!

Save energy and save money!

Carol in PA

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May 21, 2007

How do relight the water heater?

Naida from Dallas, TX


By Ace (Guest Post)
May 23, 20070 found this helpful

I called our local Gas Company & they came out to light my gas water heater.

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