Every month, we seek to bring our readers insight from the worlds of home construction, home repair, and home maintenance straight from local Northwest Washington contractors in a segment we call “3 Questions.” Yep, you guessed it: we ask three questions, and the contractors answer them.

This month, we talk water heaters with Brad Tully, president and owner of CPI Plumbing & Heating in Mount Vernon.

(1) Is it really necessary to service and flush water heaters annually? How much does this typically cost?

“Yes, it is necessary to maintain efficiency and prolong the longevity of water heaters. It is required by most water heater manufacturers to maintain warranty compliance. The cost to service/flush water heaters varies, but most residential water heaters can be drained/flushed under CPI Plumbing & Heating’s Club Membership program for $149.50 (plus tax), provided they are installed and meet the current Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) standards.”

(2) In your experience, how long do water heaters last (gas and electric) and what are typical replacement costs? 

“Water heater longevity is determined by a variety of factors, including water quality, maintenance, anode rod replacement, etc. A typical water heater will last from eight to 12 years. The cost of water heater replacement varies depending on size, fuel type, code updates, permitting, etc.”

(3) Seismic straps are always called out by home inspectors and real estate appraisers. Is this easy to do and what kind of fee would you normally charge to double-strap a water heater?

“Seismic strapping is required, per UPC standards. The cost varies based on a variety of factors—including the size of the water heater, water heater location, anchoring points/accessibility, etc. CPI Plumbing & Heating technicians can easily assist with getting a home’s seismic straps up to code, as we’re just a call away!”

BONUS: Do you have any water heater pet peeves or advice you’d like to share with our audience?

“Most homeowners don’t realize that there is a sacrificial rod (an anode rod) inside the water heater. The sacrificial rod allows minerals to consume the rod instead of the interior tank lining of the water heater. Draining and flushing the water heater, alongside periodic inspection/replacement of the anode rod, could in many cases double the life expectancy of a water heater.”

About CPI Plumbing & Heating

CPI Plumbing & Heating provides repair, installation, and maintenance service solutions for plumbing, heating and cooling problems for residential and light commercial customers. Its service area includes communities in Skagit, Island, Whatcom and North Snohomish counties.

The business was founded in 1986. Since then, the company has won numerous prestigious awards, including the National Plumbing Contractor of the Year Award in 2013 and the George Brazil Trailblazer Award in 2014.

For more information, visit https://www.cpiplumbing.com.

And finally, a big “thanks” to Brad Tully for his responses.