Follow these 8 simple and economical steps to increase your water heater’s efficiency and longevity.
Water heaters often work well for over a decade without any difficulty, which is why most people neglect them. Many people simply forget about it after they purchase it or until it stops working. But with a simple water heater maintenance, you can extend the water heater’s lifespan while making it work more efficiently.
Why do You Need To Maintain Your Water Heater?
As water pumps into the water heater tank, dirt, sediment, and different minerals sink and settle to the bottom. Depending on the water quality on your water supply, these extra bits of material can accumulate rather quickly, reducing your water heater’s efficiency. If you have hard water, this can lead to scaly calcium buildup, which increases the maintenance conditions for the unit. If left ignored, not only will it make your water heater work harder, but it will allow rust to slowly corrode your tank until it’ll need replacement for the entire unit. Nobody would want that.
Buying a new unit would be rather expensive, especially if it is easily preventable. Follow these simple measures on maintaining your water heater and you will have a smooth-running water heater for the whole year.
Test the Valves
Test the pressure-relief valve on the top or side of the water heater. This valve opens if the pressure gets too high. To test it, place a bucket below the discharge pipe and gently lift the lever on the pressure-relief valve. Encase the threads of the new valve with Teflon tape and screw it in. If you find leaks in the water or pressure valves, make sure to tighten them correctly. If your valve is old and never been tested, it might get leaks after you test it. If the leaking continues, then there is a good chance they haven’t been used and needs to be replaced. Replacement is simple. Turn off the water, drain the tank, remove the discharge pipe, and then replace the old valve. Be sure to perform this step to keep the valve working properly!
Flush The Water Heater Tank
Most water heater manufacturers will recommend flushing the water heater tank at least once a year. You can drain several gallons out of your water heater through the drain valve.
Draining the tank removes the sediment that settled at the bottom of the tank, which will allow the burner to heat more efficiently. Sediment buildup can reduce our heater’s energy efficiency and clog your water inlet. You can flush the system by connecting a garden hose to the drain valve or letting the water run into a bucket until the water is clear of dirt and debris.
Over time, water heaters will build up limescale from minerals inside the tank’s heating chamber. To remove the scale build-up the unit should be flushed to remove these mineral deposits. The steps involved will vary by model, but the process usually includes attaching a hose and flushing the tank with vinegar. If you want, you can drain a few gallons a month from your tank, especially if you live in an area with hard water.
Clean The Air Intake Filter
While you are flushing your water heater, you should clean the air intake filter. The air intake filter keeps dirt and debris from getting into your water heater. A clean filter keeps air flowing smoothly through the unit. You can locate the air intake filter by removing your unit’s faceplate. Once you’ve got the filter, rinse it thoroughly with water, then dry it with paper towels before reinstalling it. Disconnect your hoses, tightly screw all service caps, then open the water valves, turn on the power, and, if needed, gas to the unit. Check for any leaks in the unit.
Check the Anode Rod and Replace it if Needed
The anode rod hangs in the tank to prevent its inside from rust corrosion. It should also be checked when the tank gets drained. Replacing a severely rusted rod is considerably cheaper than replacing the water heater. Without a good anode rod, hot water will quickly rust the inside of the tank, reducing its effective lifespan.
Insulate the Water Heater Tank
Wrapping your water heater in an insulating blanket can improve its performance by 40%. Cast the insulating blanket to fit around pipes, the valves, and the controls sticking out of the tank. Wrap the tank, and seal cuts with foil tape. Tape its edges securely to the side of the tank. You only need to do this step once.
Have Proper Ventilation
The unit must have enough ventilation to allow heat to escape. For gas-operated heaters, you need to have vents to exhaust gases outside of the home. If not properly vented, the unit may overheat.
Adjust the Temperature
Find the temperature gauge on the tank and unscrew its cover. Adjust it to 120 degrees using a screwdriver. For every 10 degrees of temperature lowered, you can expect 5% in energy-savings. Turn off your water heater or set it down to the lowest setting if you plan to be gone from home for a few days.
Water heater maintenance may be a hassle, but it can save you money that you can use on other things. Besides, most people would prefer to have their units working in good condition. Maintain your water heater today or you’ll find yourself spending hundreds to replace it. Water heaters are usually a low maintenance appliance, but remember to drain yours regularly. This may help keep it functioning efficiently and hot water flowing in your home. It’s commonly a good idea to drain your water heater at least once a year. Remember to check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
With a little work, you can keep your water heaters working efficiently. You can also have a professional maintain the water heater for you. Contact 5 Star Plumbing, and you will enjoy full coverage for your water heater.