Maintenance Is Key for This Critical Appliance!

When you think about it, your water heater is one of the most valuable appliances in your home. Not only does it account for up to 25 percent of the total energy used by your home, but it also provides the hot water that is part of your everyday routines: showering, making coffee, cooking, and cleaning up.

So, are you maintaining your hot water heater like the MVP that it is? If not, we have you covered and you can start the process today.

Inspections only take between 15 minutes and should be conducted every six months. Unmaintained heaters will run less efficiently, use more power, and need to be replaced more frequently. In other words, they will cost you more than well-maintained water heaters.

Start by shutting off your gas or electricity to the unit. Then work your way through the following list.

  1. Overall Appearance. How does your hot water heater look? Pay careful attention to water under the unit, signs of rust and/or corrosion, and loose connections (screws, nuts, and bolts).
  2. Anode Rod. Refer to the user’s manual to locate the anode rod. This device prevents premature failure by inhibiting rust and corrosion. Depending on the chemical composition of your water, the anode rod will need to be replaced every couple of years. However, it is a good idea to check it whenever you inspect your heater.
  3. Pressure Relief Valve. Use that manual again to locate the pressure relief valve. Position a bucket beneath the valve and pull on the trip lever. Water, vapor, and a rush of air should come out easily. If this does not occur, it is best to have the valve replaced. Contact our Veteran plumbing experts and we will complete the job safely.
  4. Drain Sediment. Before you put that bucket away, use it to drain the tank. The point is to remove sediments that have accumulated in the bottom of the heater, which will improve the quality of the water and increase the lifespan of the appliance. Be careful: the water will be hot! Consult your manual for specific instructions and safety precautions for your unit. Once prepared, start draining water from the unit. You will notice sediments in the water. Keep draining the heater until the water is clear of sediments; this will typically be between 2 and3 gallons. Another option is to completely flush the tank, which requires you to turn off the water supply to the heater, letting it cool down, and then flushing the tank completely. The main point of this exercise is to relieve the unit of sediments to allow for cleaner water and a longer lifespan of the appliance.
  5. Air Filter. If your unit has an air filter, clean out all the dust and debris regularly to keep it from clogging. Vacuum the filter to clean it. In some cases, you may need to wash it by hand with soap.
  6. Heater Vent. If your unit has a vent, you need to ensure the vent is clear and working properly. Otherwise, gases could vent into your home. As always, check your manual to make sure there are no specific requirements. The easiest way to check your vent is to hold a flame (from a lighter or a match) next to the gap between the top of the water heater and the vent. When the water heater turns on, if the flame is drawn toward the gap, your vent is working just fine. If not, give our Veteran plumbing experts a call, and we will assist you in resolving the problem.

Take the time now to care for your water heater, because you do not want to have to scramble to replace a unit unexpectedly! And, if this list makes you want to throw in the towel, just call our team and we’ll handle the inspection for you and any other plumbing needs.