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How to Maintain a Water Heater? 8 Useful Tips to Use

Part of a properly functioning household is a well-maintained water heater. Your water heater is vital in many ways for your home’s integral functionality. Everything from washing dishes to taking showers depends on your water heater.

Want a water heater that will last you for years to come? The trick to a reliable water heater is proper maintenance – but what does this mean?

If you want to minimize the odds of a breakdown and minimize water heater disruption, here are the eight tips to put into action starting now.

1. Regular Maintenance and Inspection

The first and foremost thing to do is get your water heater regularly inspected and maintained by a professional.

While you can do many of the action items on this list, it’s always best to get a professional opinion at least once a year. With regular inspections, you’re more likely to catch issues earlier, making them much easier to repair.

For these times, your friends at All Dry USA are here to help. We’ll give our professional opinion on your water heater and offer any recommendations for repair if necessary.

2. Annual Flushing

Each year, you should also schedule a time to drain your water heater, also called flushing.

When the tank is empty, you can clean out its interior and remove any sediment built up over time. The sediment itself may not be damaging, but it can slowly impact the heater’s overall efficiency.

To keep your water heater in tip-top shape over time, clean out the sediment annually for a clean slate.

To do this, shut off your water and all power to the water heater. You can attach a hose to the heater and siphon out what’s in the tank. Then, clean out the tank. Once your cleaning is complete, go ahead and refill and turn on the tank again.

3. Tank Insulation

To reduce energy expenses and expand your water heater’s overall lifetime, add some insulation to the tank. It keeps heat from escaping and makes it easier for the tank to heat the water and keep it there.

With less energy used, you’ll enjoy the benefits of a lower energy bill. When your tank doesn’t have to work as hard, it will also work longer for you and your home.

You can insulate the tank with a fiberglass jacket. Just avoid contact with the flue.

White Water Heater With Exposed Elements

4. Reduced Temperature

Did you know that many water heaters come automatically set at a temperature higher than you need it to be? Overly high temperatures can create an unsafe environment and pose the risk of burns.

Every 10 degrees you can lower your water heater’s temperature, you can save up to 5 percent of your energy bill.

Ideally, your water heater will be at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature not only prevents injuries and burns, but it will also reduce your home’s energy consumption.

5. Temperature Pressure Relief Valve Testing

On your tank, you’ll find what’s called a temperature pressure relief valve. You want to test this regularly to check that it’s operating as intended. The purpose of this valve is to release pressure from the tank when it gets too high within the heater.

To test your temperature pressure relief valve (TPR), place a bucket underneath the discharge pipe, which you’ll find connected to the valve. With the bucket there, go ahead and lift the lever. Water should come out.

If no water comes out or excessive leakage occurs, that’s a sign your valve is not working correctly. In this case, get it replaced as soon as you can.

Test it a few times to get a good read and keep an eye out for even small leaks from the valve just following the tests.

6. Anode Rod Replacement

Another essential component of your water heater tank is the anode rod. This piece attracts corrosive materials found in the water. When the rod has worn out and become corroded, the corrosive materials may move to the tank, leading to the risk of rust getting into the water.

You will need to replace the anode rod about every three to five years or so. By doing so, you can avoid rusting the inside of the tank.

It’s critical to keep a properly functioning anode rod in place to protect the integrity of your tank. You can assess the rod by first loosening and taking out the piece called the hex-head screw. You’ll need to get a new rod if:

  • Six or more inches of core steel wire has become exposed.
  • There is a layer of calcium covering the rod.
  • The rod is thinner than 1/2 inch.

If you notice one or more of these signs, pick up a zinc-aluminum anode rod at the store for less than $20.

7. Air Intake Filter Replacement

If you have a tankless water heater, you’ll have an air intake filter, which serves as a block against debris that tries to enter the heater. It would be best if you changed this every so often to support its integral functions.

8. Pipe Insulation

We already touched on the importance of insulating your water tank. However, we haven’t gotten to the benefits of insulating the pipes that connect to the heater.

During winter months, water is especially prone to reaching temperatures that are so low that there’s a danger of freezing. To prevent this from happening, apply insulation around the outside of the pipes to avoid burst pipes and unnecessary damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should water heater be serviced?

Once a year. Schedule an annual inspection today at All Dry USA and get ahead of any problems that may come up.

What is the lifespan of a water heater?

Around 8 – 12 years. It depends on the brand, condition, use, location, size, and other factors. Ask your plumber for expert advice.

What happens if you don’t flush your water heater?

If you don’t flush your water heater, you risk bursting pipes, loss of water pressure, and complete system failure. Avoid corrosion and flush regularly.

How long does it take to drain a 50-gallon water heater?

Assuming everything is functioning correctly, about 5 minutes for a complete drain. If you have a slow flow, turn on the cold water to help the drain.

Preserve Your Heater, Preserve Your Home

A properly functioning home relies on several systems to be working as they should. One of these essential systems is the water heater. With a little time taken out of your schedule and an annual visit from the experts here at All Dry USA, your water heater can last for years. Enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained water heater by calling All Dry USA today.

Ben Suiskind
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