Water Heater Maintenance: Your Seasonal Guide

March 6, 2024

By following a water heater maintenance schedule from season to season, you can keep your unit running smoothly. This maintenance plays a major role in prolonging the unit’s lifespan. It also helps you catch problems early on before they cost you a lot of money.


Springtime is an ideal time for water heater maintenance. By taking time to fix any problems before summer’s peak demand, you can guarantee optimal performance.

1. Check for Leaks Around the Tank and Connections

To check for leaks around a water heater and its connections, visually inspect the area for any signs of water accumulation or dampness. Pay close attention to the fittings, valves and pipes connected to the water heater. If you find any leaks, tighten the connections if possible. If the leak persists, contact a plumber to diagnose and repair the issue promptly. It’s imperative to repeat this maintenance task each season.

2. Flush the Water Heater to Remove Sediment Buildup

The gradual accumulation of silt at the tank’s base diminishes its effectiveness and poses a risk of harm as time passes. Removing sediment by flushing the tank ensures the water heater works effectively and extends its lifetime. Not only that, it protects the water in the tank from contamination and helps keep rust and corrosion at bay.

3. Test the Temperature and Pressure Settings

Incorrect settings can lead to scalding hot water, posing the risk of serious burns. Regularly verifying and adjusting these settings to the manufacturer’s recommendations ensures optimal performance. It also helps prevent potential scalding accidents. A malfunctioning pressure relief valve can lead to excessive pressure buildup within the tank, increasing the risk of explosions or leaks. The valve’s ability to release pressure as needed and avoid dangerous circumstances depends on regular inspections.

4. Clean or Replace the Air Filter (if applicable)

Some water heaters have air filters. These typically include some tankless units, gas water heaters, oil water heaters and heat pump systems. To prevent dust and debris buildup, it’s very important that you change the filter every three to six months. Clogged filters can obstruct airflow, leading to inefficient combustion and potential safety hazards.


Summer maintenance ensures efficiency during high-demand months. It also prevents potential breakdowns during peak usage periods.

1. Adjust the Temperature Setting to Conserve Energy

To conserve energy during the summer, adjust the temperature setting on the water heater thermostat to a lower temperature, around 120 °F. Ensure to follow manufacturer instructions and turn off the power supply before making any adjustments.

2. Check the Anode Rod for Corrosion and Replace if Necessary

Safely check the anode rod by turning off the water heater, locating the rod’s access point and inspecting it for corrosion or signs of wear. If the rod shows significant corrosion or deterioration, it’s best to call a plumber to replace it promptly. This is key to preventing further damage to the water heater tank.

3. Clean the Area Around the Water Heater to Prevent Dust Buildup

Accumulated dust can also pose a fire hazard if it comes into contact with the water heater’s heating elements or pilot light. Regular cleaning ensures safe operation.

4. Check Gas Control Valves for Leaks

Use a gas leak detector solution or soapy water to inspect the valve and connections. If bubbles form, indicating a leak, immediately turn off the gas supply and call a plumber for repairs. Gas leaks pose serious safety hazards.

5. Lubricate the Circulating Pump (if applicable)

Water heaters that utilize recirculating systems typically have circulating pumps. These pumps help maintain hot water distribution throughout the home. It’s important to have a plumber lubricate the pump regularly to prevent wear and tear. Adding lubrication to the moving parts of the water heater decreases friction, making it run quieter and improving water flow.


Fall maintenance prepares the water heater for increased use during the colder months. It also addresses any issues before Michigan’s snowy winter weather sets in.

1. Inspect the Pilot Light and Burner for Proper Operation

Check the burner and pilot light by looking for a continuous blue flame. If you notice any flickering or if the flame turns yellow, contact a plumber.

2. Check for Leaks in the Hot Water Supply Lines

Visually examine the hot water supply pipes for any symptoms of water collection or moisture. If you see or suspect a leak, it’s best to contact a plumber right away. Plumbers know exactly how to inspect the problem and fix it before it causes more damage or water loss.

3. Inspect the Flue for Blockages or Obstructions

If you have a gas or oil water heater, look for dirt or nesting materials in the flue hole. As soon as you see or suspect a blockage, don’t hesitate to contact a plumber. They will quickly inspect the area and remove any obstructions to restore adequate ventilation. This preventative step is vital to avoiding dangers like carbon monoxide accumulation.

4. Test the Thermostat and Adjust if Necessary

Adjust the temperature setting and monitor if the water reaches the desired temperature. If the thermostat doesn’t work correctly or reach the set temperature, have a plumber fix or replace it.

5. Test the Water Flow Rate and Adjust if Necessary

To test the water flow rate, turn on a faucet and measure the time it takes to fill a one-gallon container. If it takes longer than 90 seconds, the flow rate may be too slow. Adjust the water flow by adjusting valves or cleaning aerators. If adjustments don’t improve flow, contact a plumber to inspect and resolve any underlying issues.


Winter maintenance ensures peak performance during colder temperatures. It is paramount to avoiding frozen pipes.

1. Insulate Exposed Pipes to Prevent Heat Loss

Insulating exposed pipes around the water heater is essential to prevent heat loss. This insulation helps maintain hot water temperatures and reduces the workload on the water heater. Additionally, it minimizes the risk of frozen pipes in cold weather, preventing potential damage and costly repairs.

2. Check for Leaks in the Cold Water Supply Lines

Visually inspect the cold water supply pipes for signs of moisture or dripping. Take your hand and feel along the pipes for any unusual dampness. If you find or suspect a leak, have a plumber fix it as soon as possible.

3. Test the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve

Given the possibility of water expansion due to freezing temperatures, it’s imperative to test the temperature and pressure relief valve during the winter months. This critical step ensures its functionality by averting potential hazards like water heater explosions caused by excessive pressure or temperature buildup.

4. Monitor for Signs of Reduced Efficiency in Colder Temperatures

Regularly check the water heater for issues like decreased water temperature, longer heating times and unusual noises. If you notice any of these signs, it’s advisable to contact a plumber promptly. They can assess the system for potential problems, such as sediment buildup or malfunctioning components and recommend appropriate repairs or maintenance.

When you need cooling, heating, ductless or water heater services, you need C & C Heating & Air Conditioning. Contact us today to schedule annual maintenance for the water heater in your Roseville, MI, home.

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