While most people are aware that maintaining the plumbing system in their home is important, a surprising number of homeowners don’t actually know the actionable steps to perform to ensure that their major plumbing appliances continue to work properly.
When it comes to maintaining your water heater, there are a few simple steps that you can take to keep this important element of your home’s plumbing system operating error-free and providing you with hot water whenever you need it. Keep reading to learn more about how you can keep this major appliance in perfect working order for years to come:
Drain the Tank & Wash Out the Sediment
One of the most important things to do to keep your tank working properly is to regularly drain out the sediment which accumulates at the bottom of your tank.
Depending on the kind of water which gets supplied to your home sediment may build up faster, so it’s important to be mindful of practicing this step more often if you have “hard” water which is full of heavier mineral deposits.
To safely drain your tank, follow these easy steps:
- Turn off the electricity to your water heater and turn off the gas in order to shut off the pilot.
- Shut off the cold-water inlet, located on the top of your water heater.
- Attach a garden hose to your tank’s drain valve (make sure to place the draining end of the hose in a tub, or outside)
- Keep the pressure relief valve open and open the drain valve to allow the tank to begin draining. Let the tank drain completely to remove all the sediment.
- Close the drain valve, disconnect the hose and shut off the pressure relief valve.
- Turn on all faucets and spigots in the house to “hot” and turn on the cold water inlet.
- Close each spigot as water begins to flow.
- Once all the spigots are closed, restore power to the water tank.
Adjust the Temperature of the Tank
Another effective way to preserve the quality of your water heater is to turn down the temperature. To do so, just locate the temperature setting dial located on your heater, which can be found either on the gas valve or as a thermostat located on an electric water heater panel.
Then, dial the temperature down so that it rests between 115 and 120 degrees F. This cooler temperature will keep the tank from overheating as it works to keep your water hot, and will also use less energy to maintain the water at a warm temperature.
Insulate the Water Heater
Another easy way to maintain your water heater is to insulate it. If your water heater is located in an uninsulated space, such as a garage, basement, or in the attic, you can install a thick blanket to keep it warm.
Gas water heaters: Because the controls for a gas heater are usually located at the top, it’s important to wrap the blanket around the tank but leave the dials and controllers exposed for ease of use. Additionally, wrapping the top may cause a fire from the heat from the tank, so be careful.
Electric water heaters: Since electric water heaters have no exhaust, you can insulate the top as well as the sides. However, be mindful not to cover the access panels to prevent overheating.