Guide to Water Heater Maintenance

If you’re looking to prolong your water heater’s life, you need to spend a little time on water heater maintenance. If you don’t think this appliance requires maintenance, consider the attention you give your car to help keep it in good working order. You probably have the oil changed and other maintenance tasks performed at least once a year. This helps you get better gas mileage and prolongs the life of the car.

The same goes for water heaters. Give it a little maintenance and you’ll add years to the water heater’s life while ensuring peak efficiency and safety. The tasks don’t take long to perform. Here’s what you need to do.

Prepare the tank for maintenance

Turn off the gas or electricity, depending on the water heater’s power source. Close off the water inlet and allow the water to cool down. Turn on one hot water faucet in your home to a slow drizzle to release pressure inside the water heater while you work on it.

Test the pressure-relief valve

This is located on the side or top of the water heater. The valve is designed to release automatically if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. Lift the valve and some water should drip out. If it doesn’t, the valve isn’t working properly and you should have it replaced as soon as possible.

Drain the tank

This flushes out sediment buildup. Sediment decreases efficiency, shortens the equipment’s lifespan and can cause corrosion. Usually all you need to do is empty a few gallons from the drain valve at the base of the tank. Don’t fret about groaning and gurgling during the draining process. This is just air entering the tank as water drains out.

Empty water into a bucket you place under the drain valve. Dump the water outside or down the sink and keep refilling it until the water runs clear. Then you deem this maintenance task complete.

Restart the water heater

Close the drain valve and open the water inlet. Restore power by turning on the gas or electricity and relighting the pilot, if applicable. From now on, set the temperature to 120 degrees instead of 140 degrees to save energy and prevent scalding at the tap.

To learn more about water heater maintenance you can do yourself, or to schedule more thorough maintenance from a professional, please contact R.V. Carey’s Plumbing & Heating.