5 Dependable Water Heater Maintenance Tips for Fall & Winter
Home improvement advice is something that many people offer freely, but that doesn’t mean you can trust it. And when it comes to your water heater, there are some regular maintenance tasks that you should be performing, and you want to make sure you do them right.
If you're a new homeowner or just starting out with home maintenance, here are five tidbits of advice that you can use to keep your water heater in prime condition this fall and winter.
1. The Anode Rod
When the anode rod in your water heater becomes fully corroded, it must be replaced to protect your tank from rust. Inspecting the rod—and replacing it when necessary—is a relatively simple process, but it does involve a number of steps:
- Shut off the water and the power to the heater
- Turn on the hot water at a faucet to relieve pressure
- Drain several gallons of water through the bottom drain valve
- Unscrew the anode rod and remove it from the tank
- Inspect the rod for corrosion
- Replace the rod if it’s fully corroded, or return the rod to the tank if there's still fresh metal on it
2. Sediment in the Tank
Another rust-related task for your water heater is flushing the tank to remove sediment. Over time, sediment and minerals from the water can build up in the tank, and this can lead to corrosion, leaks, and the need to replace your water heater prematurely. You can prevent this, however, by flushing the tank annually and replacing what's in the tank with fresh water.
3. Changing the Temperature
Changing the temperature of your water heater is a basic task, and there are two reasons why you might want to do this:
Lower the temperature: Many water heaters are set to 140° F, which some people find to be too hot and too energy-intensive. Lower the temperature to 120° F if that’s the case.
Increase the temperature: For other people, a water heater temperature of 120° F is too low, particularly if you have a dishwasher that requires hotter water. In that case, increase the temperature of the water to 140° F.
4. Insulating the Tank and Pipes
You can improve the efficiency of any water heater by adding insulation to the tank, the pipes, or both. Many hardware and appliance stores sell water heater tank insulating blankets, and these are simple to install.
You can also buy insulating sleeves to wrap the pipe with, and this will ensure that as little heat as possible is lost as water makes its way from the tank to your taps.
5. The TPR Valve
This small but essential valve (the temperature and pressure relief valve) is what prevents your water heater from exploding in instances where the temperature and pressure inside the tank increase.
Simply open the valve to check that water pours out the discharge pipe to ensure the valve is working properly. If water doesn’t come out, have the valve replaced right away.
With these reliable water heater maintenance steps, you can keep your water heater in top shape for many years. This fall and winter, focus on preventing rust, keeping the tank and your family safe, and making the heater as efficient as possible.
If you run into problems, call All Purpose Plumbing in Tacoma, WA at 253-473-5100 for assistance with all your plumbing needs.