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Water Heater Do’s And Don’ts

Water heater dos and donts

Your water heater is a simple but integral piece of equipment in your home that constantly works to provide you and your family with hot water. Don’t let your morning shower be the only time you think of your water heater. Rather, have a look at our handy list of do’s and don’ts to ensure that your water heater is functioning properly.

How Water Heaters Work
When water enters you home through a system of pipes, it is usually cold. That means if you want a hot shower in the morning or a warm bath to relax in after work, you’ll need something to heat your household water first. This is where a water heater comes into play. It has a heating mechanism at the bottom of the tank that warms up the entering water, which then flows to the top of the tank and is siphoned off and used as warm or hot water.

Water Heater Do’s

  • Set your water heater between 118-120°F. Although you can control how hot or cold your shower is, it is recommended that water heaters aren’t set too high to prevent scalding or burns. If you have small children in the house setting your water heater’s thermostat closer to the lower setting may help prevent any unwanted accidents.
  • Flush hot water through the drain valve at least once a year. Because water that enters your home contains minerals and sediment it is recommended that you drain your water heater to ensure that it does not become blocked. If too much sediment builds up, it can start to cover the heating mechanisms, preventing your water heater from working properly.
  • Test the pressure release valve. This safety device prevents pressure from building up in your water heater while simultaneously ensuring the temperature does not exceed 210°F. if the valve is faulty, your water heater can turn into a dangerous water bomb, which can cause extensive damage and harm. Regularly flip the lever on the valve – if it goes back into place and a little water comes out, the valve is working properly.

Water Heater Don’ts

  • Set your water heater below 118°F. In 1976, 34 veterans attending a convention died from a type of pneumonia caused by Legionnaires’ disease bacteria (LDB), which was found in the water supply. The ideal growth range of LDB is 90-105°F, and, although the US Department of Labor recommend setting your water heater to 140°F in order to kill any LDB, they recognize that this isn’t always possible when small children are present. The Department also notes that small, household water heaters are much less likely to be contaminated than larger water heaters found in the workplace. If you do set your water heater to a lower heat setting in order to save money while on holiday, ensure that you heat your water to at least 140°F before using it to ensure that any LDB is killed.
  • Keep flammable or combustible materials near your water heater. The heating mechanism inside your water heater will either be powered by electricity or gas. Either way, it is best to keep any materials, especially flammable or combustible materials, at least 18 inches away from your heater.

Don’t give your water heater the cold shoulder, and don’t let the only time you think of it be when you jump into a cold shower. It’s important to maintain this piece of equipment, so if you ever feel you need advice or assistance give us a call.