Here's something you can do yourself to help your water heater lead a rich, full life. Flush your water heater once a year. Why? Calcium, rust, and sand collect in water heaters. This means they have to work harder to heat water. Flushing removes this sediment. Here's what you do.
First, turn your thermostat to the Vacation setting. Next, shut off the cold water supply valve. If you're not sure which is the cold water supply, look for the words "cold water" stamped on the top of your water heater. Now, connect a garden hose to the drain. Open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house. Finally, place the other end of the hose in a floor drain and open the valve. Let all the water drain out of the tank.
When you're all done, close the valve and disconnect the garden hose. Turn off the hot water, turn your cold water supply back on, and turn your thermostat back to the temperature you want.
We do have one caution, though. If your water heater is old or your drain valve is faulty, your drain valve may not seal when you close it at the end of the flush. If you'd prefer that we flush, as well as inspect your water heater, let us know. We'll be happy to help you out.