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Water Heater Maintenance

The One and Only Water Heater Maintenance Guide That Youll Ever Need

by Ruhia

Did you know that water heating accounts for around 20% of your home’s energy use? If you are a homeowner it is important to maintain everything in your home to minimize repairs and costly expenses in the future. We have put together this short guide to share our top tips for your water heater maintenance.

Read on to learn more about maintaining your water heater and being a smart homeowner.

Adjust Water Temperature

When you have a gas water heater, you can adjust the temperature with the thermostat that is located on the tank. If you have an electric water heater, flip the breaker at the service panel and shut off the power to the unit. 

Next, pull back any insulation so that you can see the thermostat. With a screwdriver, you can change the temperature on the thermostat in 10-degree increments. Then close the panel and turn on the power and wait one hour to check the temperature again. 

Continue adjusting as necessary using the same steps. 

Flush Your Water Heater

Before you flush your water heater, you need to drain it first. Make sure that you first turn off your water heater. If it’s a gas water heater, make sure you turn the gas off at the source. 

Next, connect a garden hose to the drain outlet found near the base of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose in a large bucket or near a floor drain. It will take around 20-25 minutes to drain the entire water heater. 

Once it is completely drained, you can open the drain spigot to flush the sediment found at the bottom of the water heater. Keep in mind that if sediment builds up in the tank it can reduce the energy efficiency of your water heater plus it can clog up your water lines. With this in mind, make sure you flush your water heater every six months. 

Anode Rod

The anode rod is the part of the water heater that prevents the inside of the heater from corroding. This rod is made out of magnesium, aluminum, or zinc and it goes on top of the water heater to attract elements in the water that cause oxidation. 

If the anode rod is not there or is not working, the lining of the tank is going to corrode faster. When you notice a metallic taste in your water or rusty-colored water, this is a sign that you have to replace the rod. 

Access Panel

Lift the access panel found at the bottom of the tank if you have a gas water heater. Then remove the heat shield and check to see if there’s a flame. If you don’t see a flame, then shut off the gas supply valve.

Before you attempt to relight the pilot, make sure you disperse any excess gas by blowing into the opening gently. 

Check the Pressure Relief Valve

The temperature and pressure relief valve is the safety device that opens and releases extra temperature and pressure that is found inside the tank. Whenever the temperature and pressure go over the benchmark set, the valve is supposed to automatically open. Normally this benchmark is around 210 degrees Fahrenheit or 150 psi. 

If the valve does not open when the benchmark is exceeded then the water heater tank can actually explode. Although this doesn’t happen often, it is a possible risk that can create some serious injuries. 

Damaged valves or valves that are blocked, can stop the valve from opening when needed, causing the pressure to continue building up inside the tank. Take the time to have your temperature and pressure valve tested every year to ensure it is working properly. 

The best way to test the valve is to shut off the electricity or the gas and then place a bucket under the valve to catch any water. Next, pull the trip lever on the valve to make sure that vapor, water, and a rush of the air come right out. If the valve does not open then you need to have this replaced by a professional water heater repair company.

Top Tips for Water Heater Maintenance

If you have hard water or water with plenty of minerals, flush your water heater more often than six months. For those with regular water in their home, you only need to flush every six months for optimal maintenance. 

When you are heading out on vacation, make sure you change your heater’s setting to vacation mode. This setting will keep the pilot light on, but the water won’t be heated. 

You also want to check your anode rod regularly because this is another important part of the heater. If you ever notice that your heater is leaking, this could be due to a loose drain valve. With a wrench, you can tighten the valve. 

Another tip is to turn the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. For those that own a tankless water heater, you won’t have to do too much maintenance. Usually, with a tankless heater, you want to have a professional service it once per year. 

Ready to Follow This Water Heater Maintenance Guide?

Now that you have read our guide on water heater maintenance, you can take everything you learned above and put it into action. You can go through and take care of your water heater to ensure you get a long lifespan out of your water heater. 

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