10 Common Plumbing Mistakes Series: Forgetting to Maintain Your Water Heater
We get it - no one has time to think about their water heater. Until, of course, it's not working! The typical water heater will last from 8 to 10 years. You can extend it's longevity with an annual flush of the tank. Doing this can reduce buildup with is the cause of many drips and clogs in your plumbing pipes and fixtures. The buildup in the tank can cause overheating in the bottom of your tank, which weakens the steel and causes structural damage.
That being said, we don't recommend that you start doing this if you have never flushed your water heater and it's more than a couple years old. If you have water that is hard or heavy in mineral content, the goo and gunk can clog lines and fixtures when disturbed. If this is the case at your house, it may be better to wait until you have to replace your water heater and start the annual flush then!
See a previous blog post describing how to flush the tank of your water heater. You can connect a hose to the valve and run it to a floor drain if your water heater is not sitting close to a drain. http://www.plumbingbycovenant.com/resource-blog/entry/flushing-will-extend-water-heater-life.html