Basic Water Heater Maintenance Tips

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Water Heater … its name says it all. But what happens when it doesn’t heat our water? Who do we blame? With a little maintenance our tank style water heaters can increase its efficiency and prolong its life. Here’s a few simple maintenance tips that most homeowners can succeed at.

Water Heater Small Flush
Place a bucket under the drain valve that is located near the bottom of the water heater tank. Turn the valve counterclockwise to loosen it. Run it long enough to partially fill the bucket, about 1-2 gallons of water. Tighten the valve back up and stop the water.
Did the water remain cloudy throughout? It might be time for a complete flush of your water heater.

Test the T&P Valve
The T&P Valve (Temperature & Pressure) Valve is a safety feature built into your water heater. If the temperature or pressure reaches an unsafe level, the valve can automatically remediate the problem.

  • This valve can be found at the top or side of the tank. It will have a tube that runs from the valve down the side toward the base.
  • Empty the bucket you just used and place it under the discharge tube.
  • Lift up on the lever to open the valve. Hot water will be coming from the valve and empty out into the bucket. Let it flow for a few seconds and then shut it off.
  • Did it work as expected? Is it leaking? If it is not working correctly, you will need to replace the valve in a timely manner.

Temperature
The US Dept. of Energy suggests a temperature of 120 degrees for household water heaters. The manufacturer will often set that temperature to 140 degrees. If you have not checked your water heater since installation, the correct temperature could lower your energy bills, as well as lengthen the life of your water heater
You may have already noticed a water heater gauge on your tank. If not, it may have a cover that needs to be removed to give you access. If it has a cover, unscrew it and use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the temperature to the desired setting.

Insulation
One of the easiest and inexpensive things we can do for our water heater is to insulate it. A blanket to help keep it warm and simple pipe insulation can help it do its job more efficiently. Pipe insulation and water blankets can be found at most hardware stores at an affordable price. Just make sure to not cover any gauges, valves or caps. Only the pipes and tank itself should be covered.

Visual
What you see is what you get? Well if you see a leak or rusting around the bottom of your water heater, you might get a bad surprise. The easiest thing to help maintain your water heater is to take a minute and look at it closely. You might be glad you did!

The easier it is for our water heater to supply us with hot water, the longer it should last and the more efficiently it should run.

Roto-Rooter continues to be the #1 name in plumbing. If the repair or installation of a water heater is in your future, check out our money saving coupons and then give us a call.

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