Boulder City Magazine is a monthly publication full of information about Boulder City and Southern Nevada. Boulder City Magazine features the Boulder City Home Guide, a real estate guide to Boulder City and Southern Nevada.

Home Care
by Scott Sauer
Advanced Structural Inspections

Water Heater Maintenance
Here is a typical diagram of the standard residential hot water tank. You can see by following the cold water line that the water enters the tank, travels down a pipe and is deposited at the bottom of the tank. Cold water is naturally heavier than hot water and remains at the bottom of the tank until heated.

The gas burners are placed in the bottom of the tank and when activated, heat the cold water. As the water is heated, it then rises to the top. You can see from the diagram that water is drawn off of the top of the tank where the water is the hottest.

The Las Vegas Valley has a high mineral content in its water. These minerals tend to precipitate or settle out at the hottest place in the plumbing system. Often, this means that the water heater itself will accumulate minerals in the bottom of the tank. If the deposits are not drained, then they will accumulate at the bottom of the heater, interfering with the heat transfer, increasing operating costs, and over time will weaken the bottom of the water heater, leading to failure.

Water heaters have a life expectancy of about fifteen years when properly maintained. If the water heater is not drained regularly, the life expectancy drops to about seven years. It is recommended that a few gallons are drained off by the lower drain valve each month and the water heater should be fully drained at least twice a year. As always, when it comes to your home, regular maintenance is key.

For more on this or other home care subjects, contact Scott at

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