Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Commercial Water Heaters

07.30.22 | Preventive Maintenance

Spent thousands on your commercial water heater, but don’t know how to maintain it?

Did you know that basic preventive maintenance on your commercial water heater can both reduce energy spend by up to 18%, and extend the life of the water heater by as much as 25%?

Wear and tear over time can slow down the process of heating, thereby decreasing the efficiency of your water heater, leading to higher energy bills.

This can be avoided by following a simple checklist (below).

What is a Commercial Water Heater?

A commercial water heater is a device that produces hot water by heating. It works by heating cold water inside an insulated tank to a controlled temperature. It allows consistent running usage in businesses.

What is the difference between a Commercial Water Heater and a Residential Water Heater?

Commercial Water Heaters are more complicated than Residential Heaters. They are larger and hold up to 150 gallons of water, more than Residential Heaters. They are also more expensive and require more frequent maintenance.

Commercial vs Residential Water Heater

What is Preventive Maintenance?

Preventive maintenance is the regularly scheduled maintenance of equipment. It keeps them running efficiently and to spec, while preventing unexpected equipment failure or breakdowns.

Why is Commercial Water Heater Preventive Maintenance Important?

Proper maintenance of commercial water heaters keeps the unit operating efficiently (see preventive maintenance checklist for HVAC), thereby keeping your energy bills low, and preventing costly breakdowns.

Signs your Commercial Water Heater Needs Repair

  • Bad odor
  • Knocking noises
  • Smelly or dirty water
  • Rusty water
  • Water leaking
  • Cloudy water
  • Unusually high energy bill
Dirty Water, Cloudy Water & Water Leaks

Preventive Maintenance Checklist for Commercial Water Heaters

1. Visually Check for Leaks.

Check the inlet and outlet pipes, the T&P (temperature & pressure) relief valve, and the drain valve. If you see any water leaking or weeping around the valve body, it’s best to replace that part.

2. Test the Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve.

The T&P valve is one of the most important safety devices in water heaters. If the pressure or temperature inside the tank gets too high, it will open to release water to prevent the tank from an explosion. (watch video).

3. Check the Anode Rod for Calcium Build Up

Anode rods might become stuck and difficult to remove if it has not been checked in years. If you can see the bare steel, or if the rod is completely encased with calcium, then the anode will need to be replaced.

4. Drain & Flush the Tank to Remove Sediment.

Over the course of 12 months, sediments and minerals will accumulate at the bottom of the tank. To do a deep flush, drain all the water until the tank is empty. Then do a flush to remove the built-up sediment. Sediment degrades the efficiency of water heaters, causing more energy spend to heat the same amount of water.

5. Check the Insulation of the Pipes and Heater.

Insulation will help to reduce the amount of heat loss. This, in turn, will conserve water and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It will also save you money on energy bills in the long run. Check for proper insulation, and repair/replace if needed.

Commercial Water Heater Preventive Maintenance Checklist

Benefits of Maintaining Commercial Water Heaters Every 6-12 Months

  • More efficiency
  • Longer lifespan
  • Fewer chances of replacement
  • Fewer repairs
  • Reduced energy consumption


Commercial water must be maintained at least every 6 to 12 months to keep it in a good working state. Over time, minerals & sediment will wear out the components causing irreversible damage, and costing you more in the long-run.

This can be avoided by regular maintenance that will preserve its efficiency and add years to its lifespan. Making minor, simple preventive maintenance checks and cleaning consistently are other ways to take care of the water heater.

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Frequently asked questions

How to maintain a Commercial Water Heater?

You can maintain a commercial Water Heater by doing the regular and scheduled inspection. Flush the heater every 6 months, replace the anode rods every 3-5 years, check for leaks and test the temperature u0026amp; pressure every 6-12 months.

What is the life of a Commercial Water Heater?

A typical commercial water heater that is cared for and maintained correctly should last 20+ years. Commercial water heaters not maintained and neglected can last as littles as 5-7 years, in addition to increasing your annual energy spend.

What is the most common problem with Commercial Water Heaters?

Water leakage and sediment accumulation is the most common problem with Commercial Water Heaters.  Checking for leaks periodically (every 3-6 months) and performing a sediment flush every 6 months will go a long way in keeping you energy spend low, and extending the life of your water heater.

When should I replace my water heater?

Tank water heaters should be replaced every 10-15 years.  Tankless systems last about 15-20 years.

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