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How to Maintain Your Water Heater

Water heaters

Maintaining Your Water Heater

Water heaters require very little maintenance. Most often people usually equate this low maintenance requirement to no maintenance at all. However, like almost anything else that runs in your home, water heaters do need to be taken care of in order to operate at their highest efficiency level. Maintaining your water heater will also ensure a long lifespan, thus reducing the costs of replacement.

Water heaters usually come with a set of procedures in the instruction manual, which are to be followed periodically in order to ensure high performance and longevity. Below are the most general procedures that need to be followed.

Drain your water heater
It is advised to completely drain the tank a few times a year in order to get rid of the sediment, dirt and various minerals that settle at the bottom. Large buildups can not only lead to your water tank having to work much harder but it can also lead to rust.

To drain your tank you will need to turn off the electricity or gas connection to the tank as well as the cold water supply. You then need to connect your garden hose to the drain valve, open the pressure relief valve and allow the tank to drain completely. Once the tank is clean you can open the inlets and switch the water heater back on.

Check the anode rod
The sacrificial (or galvanic) anode is the most important part of the water heater in ensuring its longevity. It should be checked at least once a year. Its lifespan is influenced by various factors such as; the quality of the water, how often the tank is used, the water temperature, and the quality of the tank. Salt in the water also leads to quicker corrosion.

To check your anode rod you will need to loosen the hex head screw and remove it. The rod should be replaced if its thickness is less than half an inch, if it is coated in calcium, or if more than six inches of the core steel wire is exposed.

Check the pressure valve
The pressure valve serves as a safety device and guards against an accumulation of compressed air, which may lead to an explosion. As such it is vital to make sure that it is in good working order. This should also be done annually.

To check the pressure valve you need to turn off the electricity or gas connection to the tank as well as the cold water supply. Make sure to place a bucket in a position so as to catch any water from the pressure valve. Next, discharge the trip lever on the valve. If your pressure valve is working correctly there should be a rush of air or water vapor that escapes through the valve. If this did not happen it is time for a re-placement.

Adjust the temperature
The temperature of your thermostat should be at about 120 degrees. For every ten degrees lower you will save up to 5% on electricity costs.

Covering your water heater with a special fiberglass blanket will also save you electricity costs in addition to improving its efficiency. This only applies to older models as the newer water heaters are already insu-lated.

After reading all this, looking after your water heater and keeping up with the maintenance requirements may sound a little daunting, but it is actually as easy as simply calling Art Plumbing & Air Conditioning to come through and tackle the task for you with an annual “Flush & Fill” Maintenance visit – Call us today to schedule yours!