Most basic tank type water heaters (gas or electric) are designed to be maintenance free lasting 10-15 years. However, there are a couple of tasks the homeowner should consider to extend the life of the unit, save energy, and keep the family safe from scalding.
This video discusses two simple activities to maintain your water heater; removing sediment and setting the proper temperature for safety.
It describes opening the drain valve and releasing a gallon or so of water to clear out residue inside the tank and prevent all too common rumbling and groaning noises. It also discusses the advantages of keeping the water temperature at the appropriate level to ensure your family's safety and keep energy costs to a minimum.
See also our checklist on water heater maintenance.