Your water heater probably isn’t something that you think about often. That is, until it stops working! You probably don’t even realize how many times a day you and your family rely on the hot water heater. Your hot water heater works hard to provide you with warm showers, clean clothes and sparkling pots and pans. Did you know, the average life span of a water heater is 11 years? But, without proper maintenance, it may not make it that long! To keep your water heater in top shape, and avoid breakdowns, here are a few ways to show some love to this often-neglected appliance. Note: These tips are specifically for traditional (tank) water heaters.
1. Check and Adjust the Temperature
It is important to keep an eye on the temperature that your water heater thermostat is set too. By default, most manufactures set the temperature to 120 degrees. This is temperature is adequate for most households need. At Eastern Plumbing, we recommend setting the water heater thermostat no higher than 130 degrees. With higher temperatures, you increase the chances of scalding and severe burns. Lower temperatures can extend the life expectancy of your water heater and will also save you money on your electricity bill.
If you have a gas water heater, it is very easy to adjust the temperature. Just locate the thermostat on the tank. For an electric hot water heater, first you need to shut off power to the appliance by flipping the breaker in your service panel. Next, remove the covers and pull back any insulation to reveal the thermostat. You will need to use a screwdriver to change the temperature. Make sure to set both thermostats to the same temperature.
2. Drain the Tank
It is a good idea to flush out your hot water heater tank once per year. Draining the tank gets rid of any sediment that has built up and can clog water lines. A buildup of sediment also reduces your water heater’s energy efficiency.
Draining the tank is a very simple process. Simply, hook a standard garden hose to the drain valve located near the base of the tank. Place the other end of the hose in an area where the hot water and sediment will not cause any damge. Then open the drain spigot to flush sediment from the bottom of the heater. Allow the water to flow until it runs clear.
3. Test the Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve is a safety mechanism that prevents your water heater from exploding if too much pressure builds up. If the pressure inside the tank gets too high, the valve will open automatically to release it. Obviously, this is a pretty important part of your hot water heater!
To test the pressure relief valve, place a bucket under the discharge pipe. The discharge pipe is a long, copper or plastic pipe leading down from the tank. Once your bucket is under the pipe, lift the lever. If water comes out of the pipe, you are good to go. If lifting the lever doesn’t open the valve or the valve leaks after you test it, it needs to be replaced.
If you have any questions about water heater maintenance or need any kind of water heater repair, contact the experts at Eastern Plumbing. We have pros experienced in installation and repair of both traditional and tankless water heaters. And, because we know water heater problems can be a real mess and inconvenient for you and your family, Eastern Plumbing offers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency service. Give us a call today!