Taking Care of your Water Heaters

Taken for granted — Yes, that’s how you’re treating your water heater. Water heaters work hard for you, providing warm baths, clean clothes, and shining pots and dishes. So show some love on your water heater by undertaking a routine maintenance schedule that will keep it working for its 15-year expected lifetime, and perhaps beyond.

Learn how to improve your water heater’s efficiency and possibly even lower your utility bills. Following these tips, each year may help you to have longer life expectancy and minimize damage as a result of water leakage.

Here’s what you need to do:

  • Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. You can save up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, and you’ll reduce the risk of scalding.
  • Annually test the temperature-pressure relief (TPR) valve. Shut the power and the cold-water supply valve. Place a bucket to catch water from the pressure relief valve. Lift the valve’s tab to let some water out, then let go. If no water comes out when it’s open, or water continues to leak past the TPR valve while it’s closed, then it is no longer functioning properly and should be replaced.
  • Check the Anode Rod. Examine the anode rod every three years by loosening the hex head screw and removing it. Replace the rod if:
    • The rod is less than 1/2 inch thick.
    • More than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed.
    • The rod is already coated with calcium.
  • Drain the Tank and Flash Out Sediment. At least once a year, drain the remaining water in the tank into the bucket, then stir up the sediment on the tank’s base by briefly opening the cold-water supply valve. Drain and repeat until clean water comes out of the hose. Once that is finished, closed the drain cock, refill the tank, and turn its power back on, and return the thermostat to your desired setting.
  • Insulate the Pipes and Heater. Protect older units with a fiberglass jacket to improve efficiency, be careful to avoid contact with the flue. Also, insulate the hot and cold-water pipes.
  • Complete an Annual Water Heater Inspection. Begin with the top of your water heater and inspect for any leaks or heavy corrosion on the pipes and valves. For gas water heaters, examine the draft hood and ensure that it is placed correctly, with a few inches of air space within the tank and where it connects to the vent. Search for any corrosion. If you saw any black residue, soot or charred metal, this is a sign you may be having a combustion, or if you ever smell gas, contact a professional as soon as possible.

If you encounter issues with your water heater or any part of your home’s plumbing system, heating & cooling or sewer & mainlines, be sure to contact us at 888-671-7767 or email us at [email protected] for any question or schedule an appointment with Einstein Plumbing and Heating, we’ll take care of you.