Your water heater is a crucial appliance that provides hot water for all sorts of household activities, from showers to dishwashing and laundry. To ensure its efficient operation and extend its lifespan, regular water heater maintenance is essential. While some maintenance tasks may require professional assistance, there are several simple steps homeowners can take to keep their water heaters running smoothly. In this blog, we will discuss the top water heater maintenance tips that homeowners can do themselves to keep their water heaters in top condition.
Check the Temperature and Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve
The TPR valve is a safety feature that releases excess pressure and temperature from the water heater tank. It’s important to check the TPR valve regularly to ensure it’s functioning properly. To do this, place a bucket under the TPR valve, pull up on the lever to release some water, and then let it snap back into place. If the water flows freely and stops when you release the lever, it’s working correctly. If it doesn’t, or if you notice any signs of leakage around the valve, it may need to be replaced.
Drain and Flush the Tank
Sediment buildup in the water heater tank can reduce its efficiency and shorten its lifespan. It’s recommended to drain and flush the tank at least once a year to remove any sediment. To do this, turn off the power supply or gas to the water heater, connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank, and open the valve to drain the water into a suitable location. Once the tank is empty, close the drain valve, and then turn on the water supply to flush out any remaining sediment. Finally, close the drain valve, fill the tank, and turn on the power supply or gas.
Inspect the Anode Rod
The anode rod is a sacrificial rod that helps prevent corrosion in the water heater tank. Over time, the anode rod can become depleted and need replacement. It’s recommended to inspect the anode rod annually and replace it if it’s heavily corroded or has less than 6 inches of the core wire showing. To do this, turn off the power supply or gas, locate the anode rod on top of the water heater tank, and use a wrench to unscrew it. Then, install a new anode rod by screwing it into place and tighten it securely.
Check for Leaks
Water leaks around the water heater can indicate a problem and should be addressed promptly to avoid damage to your home. Regularly inspect the area around the water heater for any signs of leakage, such as pooling water, dampness, or mold growth. Check the connections to the water heater, including the inlet and outlet pipes, pressure relief valve, and drain valve, for any leaks. If you notice any leaks, it’s important to address the issue promptly and seek professional assistance if needed.
Insulate the Pipes and Tank
Insulating the pipes and tank of your water heater can help improve its efficiency and save on energy costs. Insulate the hot and cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation to prevent heat loss and reduce the time it takes for hot water to reach the faucets. You can also insulate the water heater tank with a water heater blanket, which can help retain heat and reduce energy consumption. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and safety guidelines when installing insulation to ensure proper installation and avoid fire hazards.
Test the Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve is a crucial safety feature that prevents excessive pressure from building up in the water heater tank. It’s important to test the pressure relief valve annually to ensure it’s functioning properly. To do this, place a bucket under the valve, lift the lever to release some water, and allow the valve to remain open for a few seconds to flush out any debris that may have accumulated inside. Close the valve back and observe for any issues.
These are just a few maintenance tips any homeowner should be able to handle when it comes to their water heaters. You treat the appliance right, and it’ll treat you right for years to come! But sometimes it’s not up to DIY maintenance – sometimes an appliance needs a more skilled hand to get it back in the running. When that happens, you call us!
Call Economy Plumbing Service. Our family-owned and operated business has over 27 years of experience helping Tucson residents with all their plumbing needs.