How to Maximize The Life of Your Water Heater

Your water heater is a very important part of your home’s plumbing and comfort system. It provides hot water for showers, dishes, laundry, and more. Because it’s constantly in use, it’s important to take steps to maximize the life of your water heater. With a few simple tips, you can help keep your water heater running efficiently for years to come.

How to Maximize The Life of Your Water Heater

Always remember to use the right protection because your water heater is full of hot water and steam. You should wear gloves and protect your eyes by wearing safety goggles when you work on or near your water heater. You should also engage the services of a licensed HVAC contractor like Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for tasks that you can’t handle.

Check The Pressure Valve

Your gas or electric water heater has a safety feature known as the temperature pressure relief valve or TPR valve. Also referred to as T&P valve, it is usually located on the side of the tank near the top. The valve opens when the pressure or temperature in the tank gets too high, avoiding explosions and protecting your unit.

The valve can malfunction over time and get stuck in the open position. This is often as a result of sediment or residue buildup. It’s important to check the valve a few times yearly. To do this, you simply turn off the electricity or gas supply and then open and close the valve several times. When the valve is in good working condition, it releases water when open. You should, therefore, observe the flow of water from the drain pipe.

If no water flows out, replace the TPR valve. It’s definitely better and cheaper to maintain your water heater than to wait until it breaks down and then replace the whole unit.

Hot Water Heater Maintenance Flush

You should drain your water heater every year to remove any accumulated sediment. This is particularly important if you live in an area with hard water. If you don’t drain the tank, the sediment can build up and damage the heating element as well as the tank itself. 

Draining also increases the efficiency of your water heater by allowing it to heat water more quickly.

To drain your water heater, start by shutting off the gas or electricity supply. Next, simply attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and direct the water into a nearby drain, bathtub or outside. The water should be hot so be careful. Catch the sediment with a colander as the tank drains to avoid clogs.

Now, turn off the cold water supply to the tank and open one of the hot water faucets anywhere in your house. Next, open the drain valve and wait for the tank to get empty. Don’t be alarmed if the water that flows out is discolored. It will get clear as the sediment is eliminated.

If you notice the sediment about to clog the valve, open the cold water in short bursts to push the sludge away. When the hot water has drained thoroughly, partly fill the tank with cold water and drain it again.

Repeat the process a few times until the water that emerges is clear. Close the drain valve, remove the hose and reopen the cold water supply to the tank. Once water begins to emerge from your hot water faucets, your task is complete. Finally, turn on the gas or electricity and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Water Heater Maintenance: Anode Rod

Water heaters have an anode rod whose purpose is to corrode instead of the tank. It attracts minerals like calcium. This protects your water heater from rust and extends its lifespan. The anode rod is located inside the tank and can be made of magnesium, aluminum or zinc. It is usually attached to the cold water inlet at the top of the tank.

The anode rod is a sacrificial element that protects the tank from corrosion. Over time, it will corrode and need to be replaced. If the rod wears out, you lose your water heater preventative maintenance. The minerals it protects your unit from can result in rusting and leaking of your tank. You should check the anode rod every year and replace it every 3-5 years if you want your water heater to have a long life.

Be sure to always turn off the gas or electricity before you inspect the anode rod. Drain a few gallons of water from the tank to make it easier to remove the rod. Unscrew the hex nut from the top of the tank and you’ll find the rod attached to it.

If more than six inches of the rod is gone or there’s an enormous layer of deposit on it, it’s time for a replacement. You can get a new anode rod from a hardware store or the place where you purchased your water heater.

Screw the new anode rod in place of the old one and then retighten the hex nut. You might need a wrench to do this. Now you can turn on the gas or electricity and fill the tank with water.

You’ve just completed another easy task of water heater maintenance. By carrying out these simple steps regularly, you can extend the life of your water heater, prevent accidents, and avoid costly repairs or replacements.

If you feel you’re unable to carry out any of these tasks, please contact the professionals at Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We have the knowledge and experience to properly take care of your water heater and keep it in good working order for many years to come.

Get Accustomed to Your Water Heater Maintenance Schedule

Routine maintenance is beneficial to your water heater. By following a regular water heater maintenance schedule, you keep your unit running smoothly for many years.

Here’s what your water heater maintenance schedule should look like;

  • Flush the tank once every 4 months – This will remove any sediment that’s accumulated in the bottom of the tank.
  • Inspect the anode rod and replace it every 3 to 5 years – As discussed earlier, the anode rod protects your water heater from corrosion. Check it every year and replace it as needed.
  • Test the temperature relief valve yearly –  This valve is a safety feature that releases pressure if the water heater gets too hot.
  • If your water heater is gas-powered, check the burner at least once every year – This will ensure that the burner is clean and operating efficiently.
  • Clean your water heater tank at least once every year – Cleaning will help prevent the build-up of sediments in the tank.

If you desire a more detailed water heater maintenance schedule, visit your water heater manufacturer’s website and find the information you seek using the model number of your unit.

Develop a Relationship With Your Local Water Heater Maintenance Contractor

Water heater maintenance is not always a do-it-yourself project. That’s why it’s a good idea to develop a relationship with a reputable contractor. If you run into any problems or don’t feel you can carry out any of the tasks on the water heater maintenance schedule, please contact your local water heater maintenance company. By having a professional on call, you can rest assured that your water heater is in good hands and that any problems will be dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Finally, do some research and get recommendations from people you trust before you hire a local water heater company. The internet is also a great resource for finding local water heater maintenance companies. A reliable and trustworthy contractor will come in handy should you ever have any problems with your water heater, especially in an emergency. As with other household appliances, safety should be your number one priority as you maintain your water heater.

Contact Us if You Need Help With Your Water Heater Maintenance

Don’t wait until your water heater breaks down to learn about maintenance. By following a regular schedule and being proactive, you can avoid many problems and extend the life of your unit. If you have any questions about water heater maintenance, contact Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing at 812.425.8435. We’re always happy to help our customers in any way we can.

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