Water heaters are one of those often-forgotten appliances that hide in the darkest rooms of our homes. Few people give their water heater any thought until they suddenly need to get a quote for water heater replacement. What they may not have realized is that a little bit of water heater maintenance would have gone a long way toward preventing a flooded home or a shockingly cold shower. This guide will walk you through the steps you can take to care for your water heater and prolong its lifespan.
On the outside of your water heater, you will notice a pressure relief valve as well as some adjustment knobs. Make it a point to go out and check the settings on your water heater and turn the water down to 120°F. This will save you a boatload of energy and will help reduce the wear on the heating coils. Next, inspect the valve for any signs of leaking. You can manually open the valve to test it for a couple of seconds. It should allow water to drain out, thereby relieving pressure inside the tank. If it does not open for you, it could mean that excess pressure is dangerously building up inside the tank. Our professional plumbers can replace this valve pretty easily to ensure that it is working properly. You should also inspect all of the lines in and out of the water for signs of leaking. These are simple tasks that can be done once per year for most homes.
Drain The Sediment
If there is one maintenance routine that is known to drastically improve the lifespan of a water heater, it is the removal of sediment on a monthly or quarterly basis. As time goes by, sediment settles to the bottom of your water heater tank, reducing the effectiveness of your heating elements and taking up space which could be used for hot water. Too much sediment forces your water heater to work harder than it should, which leads to burnout. The good news is that it only takes a few minutes to open the drain valve and let 2-3 gallons of water out of the tank. You should allow the water to drain until you stop seeing signs of sediment floating in the water. You should also be cautious because this water is extremely hot from sitting in the tank. Making a habit of draining the sediment can add years of life to your water heater.
Check the Rod
Did you know that there is a special rod inside of your water heater designed to keep it from corroding? Most people have never heard of an anode rod, but it is an important feature of any water heater installation. The anode rod serves to keep the water from reacting with the inside of the water heater tank, causing rust and leaks. In doing this, the rod wears down over time or collects calcium from the water. These rods are typically designed to last for 2-3 years under regular use. Beyond that and they become ineffective, leaving your tank susceptible to rust. The good news is that an anode rod can be relatively inexpensive, but you will want to call an expert to come change it out for you to ensure it is installed properly. The anode rod can be difficult to locate and may show signs of other problems that can be addressed if inspected by a professional.
Aside from these regular maintenance tasks, there are also ways you can reduce wear on your water heater overall. The easiest thing to do is to properly insulate the pipes and the water heater unit itself. This ensures that you aren’t losing heat prematurely. In addition, many water heaters allow you to set up vacation mode, which keeps your pilot light lit but doesn’t waste energy heating your water. If you plan on being out of town for a while, take advantage of this setting to minimize your energy loss.
These simple steps can do wonders for the average water heater in your home. The sooner you set up a maintenance schedule and get rid of that sediment, the happier your heater will be. Most of these tasks do not require any special skills or tools, although you always need to be aware that you are working with scalding hot water.
If you feel that your Phoenix plumbing is in need of a serious tune-up, you can always call Day & Night Air for assistance with professional water heater maintenance services!