Your water heater is one of the main cogs in your home comfort system gears. It supplies hot water to your household plumbing for use in the dishwasher, washing machine, sinks and showers. It also uses up more energy than any other piece of equipment other than your HVAC gear. Given its importance, the stakes are high when it comes to keeping your hot water heater running in peak condition. With proper maintenance, you can extend the life of your equipment and delay the moment when you need to purchase a new model. Read on to learn more.
Getting the Most from Your Household Plumbing
There are several steps you can take yourself to keep the water heater running smoothly:
- Inspect the Pressure Valve: Make sure your pressure valve is working correctly by turning off the power and water to your hot water unit and then tripping the valve. Air, water or vapor should come out – if they don't, you need to replace the valve. A malfunctioning valve could cause an explosion if the tank becomes over-pressurized.
- Flush out Your Tank: It's a good idea to empty the tank once a year or so to remove any sediment that has accumulated inside, and it’s convenient to take care of this chore at the same time you check the pressure valve. With the tank disconnected from water and power, hook a hose up to the drain valve and place the other end somewhere where it's safe to discharge hot water. Next, with the pressure valve already open, flip open the drain valve and let all the water flow out. Finally, hook up the water to the hot water heater again and turn on your hot water faucets. Wait until water starts coming out before you power up the heater again.
- Check on Your Anode Rod: The anode rod helps prevent corrosion in your hot water tank and is an essential tool for prolonging the life of the equipment. You can check on it while the tank is drained by unscrewing the hex head at the top of the tank and pulling out the rod. If it has become very thin, or if it's coated in sediment, it's time for a replacement. In general, anode rods should last about five years, but it's a good idea to check on them annually.
Put Your Household Plumbing in Expert Hands
The more vigilant you are about water heater maintenance, the less likely you are to need emergency repair or replacement. In addition to your own interventions, a yearly visit from a qualified plumber can catch any problems you missed or weren't able to resolve and extend the lifespan of your water heater even more.
If you need your hot water heater inspected, or have any other problems with your household plumbing, contact an expert plumber today.