Typically, you don’t think about your water heater until something happens to it. It is usually sitting in your basement or hidden in a utility closet, unseen and unheard of. That is, until there’s a problem. This means that you still, however, need to regularly maintain your water heater for safety reasons. To avoid a damaged heater this season, follow the tips below.
Check your Anode
To avoid corrosion of your tank, a ‘sacrificial’ anode rod is installed inside your heater. You should inspect this once a year to see if it needs to be replaced.
Regularly Clean your Water Heater Out
On your maintenance list you should include cleaning out your water heater. This includes flushing out the tank and removing sediment buildup every 6 months. You can use a garden hose which you attach to the valve at your water heater’s base to flush it out. Switch the power off and run hot water waiting for it to cool prior to flushing out the tank since the water that is heated in the tank can be 140 degrees or more.
Pressure or Temperature Relief Valve
A pressure or temperature relief valve prevents your tank from exploding if pressure or temperature goes over the safe limit. The bad news is that residential valves often fail. Therefore, you should test the valve annually during your maintenance tasks by pulling the handle up to ensure water freely flows out and stops once you let the handle go. You should replace the valve if it drips, runs or does nothing. To remove sediment buildup, flush out the water heater through the drain valve once yearly.
You can reduce heat loss as much as 45 percent by adding insulation. Insulation will also cut down your water-heating costs as much as 9 percent.
Replace your Old Water Heater
Gas water heaters last for around 10 years while electric heaters last for 15 years. If you have an old heater that you need to replace, you might want to consider a couple things first before you buy a new one. For example, if you have added members on to your family, you might need a larger tank to supply enough hot water. Take a look at the first hour rating (FHR) on your heater’s energy label. Another thing you might want to consider is a tankless heater. These don’t store hot water, so they use less energy. Instead, when you turn the hot water on in your shower or sink, the unit switches on and quickly heats up the cold water through a heat exchanger before it sends it to your shower or sink.
In your yearly maintenance, you should check for water heater leaks or ruptures. If you notice any, it’s important that you get it checked out immediately to avoid any further damage. You should also call your independent insurance company and let them know.