Ignoring your water heater is easy to do. After all, it may work well for decades with absolutely no problem. Then, probably in the middle of the night or when you are away on vacation, the safety valve releases streams of water or the corroded tank springs a catastrophic leak. When one of these things happens, the damage can cost you thousands of dollars. Routine water heater maintenance is essential.
A failing water heater is a problem no matter where it happens, but in some areas, it poses more of a problem than others. For instance, in some wet parts of the country, basements are a rarity because the ground is too damp for them. As a result, some water heaters are actually placed in the attic along with the HVAC units. If you ignore your attic water heater, you risk damaging all the floors below it. You can have extensive ceiling damage, flooring damage, air conditioning damage, and furnace damage. If your water heater is on the first floor, you risk flooring damage, but you will be in much better shape than the attic folks. A garage or basement water heater exposes you to less risk.
You can run a pressure valve check yourself, following instructions that came with your model or that can be found online. If it is malfunctioning, the replacement is relatively simple. Another simple maintenance step is to routinely flush your water heater so that sediment does not build up in the tank, leading to corrosion. You will need to turn off your water heater and then attach a hose to the drain spigot located near the bottom of the tank. Once the tank is drained, you should let some fresh water run through the spigot until it is clear. If you hate performing home maintenance, then call a local plumber or water heater specialist like Roto-Rooter Sewer & Drain Service and have them check your system. If your unit is showing signs of damage, then get it replaced immediately. A new unit is far less expensive than flooding damage will be.
Your trusty water heater may well last for several decades, but if you ignore it, the consequences can devastating. You should either check your water heater each year or have the experts do it. If you do not arrange for simple maintenance tasks to be completed, your unit will not last as long as it should, and it may fail completely, flooding your home and wrecking its interior.