How to Care for Your Water Heater
Keep your water heater running efficiently and reliably with this simple maintenance routine. Water heaters work hard for you, providing warm baths, clean clothes, and sparkling pots and pans. So show your water heater some love by following a routine maintenance schedule that will keep it running for its 15-year expected lifetime, and perhaps beyond.
Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. You’ll save up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, plus you’ll reduce the risk of scalding.
Always maintain 2 feet of clearance around the appliance unless the manual specifically states otherwise.
Drain about a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove sediment and debris. Turn off the cold water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, then run into a bucket until the water is clear. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water supply valve to stir up remaining sediment, and drain the tank again. This also makes the unit operate more quietly.
Annually test the temperature-pressure relief valve by quickly discharging it two or three times. Following the testing, keep an eye out for small leaks from the valve.
Examine the sacrificial anode rod every three years by loosening the hex head screw and removing it. Replace the rod if:
- More than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed.
- The rod is less than 1/2 inch thick.
- The rod is coated with calcium.
- You can buy a 13-inch zinc-aluminum anode rod for about $16.
Insulate older units with a fiberglass jacket to improve efficiency, being careful to avoid contact with the flue (newer units already are insulated — check your owner’s manual to make sure). Also, insulate the hot and cold water pipes.
When leaving town, adjust the thermostat on gas heaters to “vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating the water.
The importance of keeping up with you water heater
It is important to maintain the water heater, by scheduling maintenance at a specific time periods. First of all, one of the key factors is the location of the water heater. It should be installed in the right location and set at the right temperature. However, there are some additional steps to be taken to prevent the leakage and any other damages to the heater.
It is mandatory to keep a regular maintenance schedule. This can possibly be every two months, once in every six year and once in every year. The first check should center around observing the plumbing joints for excessive or unusual corrosion. This check applies to only gas powered heaters. All the gas supply parts as well as the water heater should be checked for any flammable material surrounding these parts. The water supply should be checked by turning on a nearby hot water tap and listening for any unusual sounds. If this is running smoothly and the heater is at the right temperature, it is properly managed. It is imperative to drain the heater completely after every two months, to remove any sediments that has accumulated within. Additionally, one should consider replacing the anode rod habitually, after two to three years. A good way of identifying an anode rod in need of replacement, is by looking for large chunks of material coating missing from the main surface indicates.
How Is a Water Heater Tank Flushed?
Flushing a hot water heater tank is not terribly difficult, but it requires a confident hand to do it safely and correctly. Your plumbers turn off power and fuel to the water heater. Running water from a faucet helps to eliminate some of the water in the tank, as well as decreasing its temperature. The plumbers use the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank to release the water currently in the tank. Plumbers may also fill the tank and drain it a second or even a third time, to help clear the sediment from the tank. The last steps include refilling the tank and resuming access to power and fuel.
Flushing your hot water heater tank is a fairly simple maintenance task that guarantees a good benefit for you and your home. When you flush the tank at least once a year, you keep more hot water for your
Flush the water heater tank once a year
Almost all water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank annually. But draining alone does not flush the water heater!
Check the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct procedure for draining your water heater. For example, this is the instructions for a Bradford White model water heater: How to Flush the Water Heater
- On a gas water heater, turn the gas valve to the off position. On an electric water heater, turn the electric off to the heater.
- Shut the cold water off to the water heater.
- Open a hot water faucet.
- Connect a hose to the drain valve on the heater and run to a drain.
- Open the drain valve and allow the tank to completely drain.
- Turn back on the cold water into the water heater.
- Allow the water to run through the water heater and out of the drain valve. Do this for approximately five (5) or ten (10) minutes.
- Close the drain valve and allow the tank to refill, keeping the hot water faucet open. When water comes out of the faucet, the tank is full.
Water Heater Maintenance
Today’s water heaters are manufactured to require little or no maintenance,
but these maintenance
tips could prolong the life of your water heater:
- Drain the water heater twice a year to rid it of collected sediment that causes corrosion. This also increases efficiency.
- Test the pressure-relief valve by lifting the valve’s handle and letting it snap back. This should release a burst of water into the overflow drainpipe. If it doesn’t, install a new valve.
- Lower the temperature setting on the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This reduces damage to the tank caused by overheating.