If your water heater is 4 years old or older, it is now time for preventative maintenance. You should have the anode rod checked and replace, if needed.
Why would you want to replace your anode rod? By replacing the anode rod you will extend the life of your water heater. Minerals in water eat away at the anode rod, and once it is gone they eat at the lining of your heater.
All of the particles that are eaten away fall to the bottom of your water heater along with sediment from the water. The heater has to heat through this thick layer before it can heat the water above it in your tank. This creates an extra cost to run your heater. Draining and flushing your heater once a year, even if the manufacturer says you don’t need to, can help reduce the sediment which in turn increases the efficiency and also helps prolong the life of the heater.
It is also very important to have your Temperature Pressure Relief Valve (aka TPR valve), tested. The pressure relief valve should have a pipe coming out that goes down to the floor to drain the water should it ever open up for safety reasons. This valve is designed to open automatically if the pressure in your tank exceeds 150 lbs of pressure inside the vessel or exceeds 210 degrees, at which point water would flow out of the tube onto the floor. You don’t want to do this yourself because if it isn’t done properly it can cause damage to your home or self.
The manufacturer suggests the relief valve should be inspected and replaced, if necessary, at least once every 2-4 years, depending on local water conditions and the advice of your local licensed plumber.
Certain naturally occurring conditions may corrode the valve or its components over time rendering the valve inoperative. Such conditions can only be detected if the valve and its components are physically removed and inspected. They also recommend you do not attempt to conduct an inspection on your own but contact a plumber for a re-inspection to insure continuing safety. They issue a warning, stating: “failure to re-inspect this valve as directed could result in unsafe temperature or pressure build up which can result in serious injury or death and/or severe property damage.”