A poorly maintained water heater costs more to operate and can even cause damage to your home. Even a small, slow leak can cause water damage and decay. To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, once a month check pipe connections, valves, and underneath the unit for any signs of a leak.
If the heater is a gas model, be sure the vent pipe is in place and unobstructed. About once a year check the pressure relief valve by pulling up or pushing down on the valve handle to be sure that hot water comes out of the overflow pipe. If it does, then the valve is working properly.
Finally, you should periodically drain a bucket of water from the faucet at the bottom of the tank to remove any sediment at the bottom of the heater which could corrode the unit and reduce its heating efficiency.