Water Heater Maintenance 101

Our water heaters are a part of our daily routines as they provide hot water for showering, doing the dishes, and laundry. Because we use them so often, it is important that we invest in water heater maintenance on a regular basis. It isn’t uncommon for water heaters to wear out or break down, so monitoring and maintenance are important tasks.

Water heater maintenance is even more important for those who have hard water. Hard water builds up large amounts of calcium (at a rapid rate) inside a water heater and annual flushing of the heater is important to prevent blockages. Annual maintenance and flushing of your water heater will help stop the calcium from building up into large rocks that get stuck in the system and cannot come out of the water heater. Flushing your water heater annually prolongs its life and allows you to monitor the water temperature. It also allows you to detect rusting of your heater – when there is a build-up of rust, you need to replace the water heater. There are many common water heater issues that may be the culprit, but ASAP Appliance & Plumbing can find the solution to your problem ASAP!

Water heater maintenance is also important for safety. There are safety devices on a water heater that should be tested at least once a year. For example, it is important to test the relief valve of your water heater to prevent anyone from being scalded or burned. The average life of a water heater ranges from eight to twelve years, but what if we told you that you could prolong the life of your system by doing routine maintenance?

The importance of water heater maintenance

Increased Efficiency

Calcium build-up is very common in water heaters and can be a major contributor to making your system less efficient. The build-up of loose minerals settles on the bottom of your water heater making it more difficult for the water heater to produce hot water. In a gas water heater, these minerals can create hot spots that cause tank damage and failure. In an electric water heater, these minerals can cause the lower heating element to fail. Flushing and maintaining your water heater regularly will result in increased efficiency.

Saves you money

Flushing your water heater at least once a year or every six months (if possible) will likely save you money on your next utility bill and will result in hot water quicker. When you flush your water heater, you contribute to reducing your home’s energy use because draining your water heater helps to ensure that it is functioning properly and clean water heaters use less energy.

Extends life

If you annually or bi-annually tune up your water heater, you can extend the lifetime of your water heater.

Maintains full volume

Sediment and mineral build-up in your water heater can reduce the volume of water that the tank is able to hold. By carrying out a simple tune-up, you are able to get full use of the water tank and increase the hot water volume of your water heater.

Here’s what to do:

Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. You’ll save up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, plus you’ll reduce the risk of scalding.

Always maintain two feet of clearance around the appliance unless the manual specifically states otherwise.

Drain about a quarter of the tank a few times a year to remove sediment and debris. Turn off the cold water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, then run into a bucket until the water is clear. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water supply valve to stir up the remaining sediment and drain the tank again. This also makes the unit operate more quietly.

Annually test the temperature-pressure relief valve by quickly discharging it two or three times. Following the testing, keep an eye out for small leaks from the valve.

Examine the sacrificial anode rod every three years by loosening the hex head screw and removing it.

Insulate older units with a fiberglass jacket to improve efficiency, being careful to avoid contact with the flue (newer units already are insulated — check your owner’s manual to make sure). Also, insulate the hot and cold water pipes.

When leaving town, adjust the thermostat on gas heaters to a “vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating the water.

Hot water heater maintenance allows you to enjoy a warm shower and tackle your tasks around the house. Keep your home functioning with regular maintenance or if you’d rather leave it to professionals contact ASAP Appliance & Plumbing.

If regular maintenance isn’t doing the trick, you may need a water heater repair or replacement. Regardless of the issue, ASAP is here to help. Our professional team can help you find the best hot water heater for your home at an affordable price.

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