Water heaters are one of the most essential and expensive appliances in your home or business. Hot water is a daily necessity that helps protect against bacteria, germs, and sickness. When your water heater fails to work, your comfort and health are compromised. Simple water heater maintenance can help you keep it running and prolong its life.
According to Bob Vila, water heaters last between 8 to 12 years. As they reach 10 years, you can expect it to require more maintenance or even repairs. By 12 years, start looking for a new water heater because it won’t be long before you need a replacement. The water heater maintenance tips we have outlined below should be able to help you reach that 12-year mark.
1. Inspect and Test the Pressure Relief Valve
Located at the top or side of your water heater, the pressure relief valve is a very important safety feature. This water heater maintenance tip will help ensure your tank doesn’t build up too much pressure. This valve will allow pressure to release from the tank to avoid an explosion. Be sure to inspect your valve and make sure it works.
You can test your pressure relief valve by placing a bucket underneath the discharge pipe connected to the valve. Lift the lever gently to release pressure from the water heater. If water is released from the pipe, your valve is working correctly. If it does not release water, have your valve replaced as soon as possible.
We recommend inspecting and testing your pressure relief valve every year!
2. Drain Sediment From the Tank
As water heaters warm water, minerals within the water settle at the bottom of the tank. These minerals are known as sediment, which can reduce the lifespan of your water heater. Calcium carbonate is the most common sediment found at the bottom of water heaters.
To drain the sediment from your tank, you’ll need a bucket. Follow the steps below to remove any sediment in your tank:
- Turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater.
- Connect a garden hose to the drain valve or use a bucket to catch the water.
- Open the pressure relief valve and then the drain valve to allow the tank to drain.
- Let the water drain until all the sediment is gone or the water runs clear.
- Close the valves and turn on the electricity or gas to the water heater.
3. Adjust the Temperature
This one is the most simple of all the water heater maintenance tips we can offer! When traveling or while away from home for several days, we recommend turning your water heater’s thermostat down to the lowest setting. This will help you save a lot on energy costs while you’re gone. When you’re home, we suggest turning the temperature to at least 120 degrees. Doing so will help you save significantly on energy costs. You can turn it down even more if you’d like to save more. For every 10 degrees lower, you’ll save 5% on energy costs.
4. Insulate the Water Heater
Insulating your water heater works just like the insulation in your walls works. Those who insulate their water heaters are able to save on heating losses by 25% to 45%, according to the Department of Energy. In turn, your heating costs are lowered by 7% to 16%. The costs to insulate your water heater will be covered by the energy savings in just one year! Before tackling your water heater insulation project, check with local codes and utility companies to make sure it’s not prohibited.
Water Heater Maintenance by Professional Plumbers
Water heaters can be complicated appliances for some homeowners. Have our team of expert plumbers handle your water heater maintenance in those cases. We have more than 20 years of combined experience in the plumbing industry, which includes your water heater. Give us a call to help maintain your water heater or perform any repairs you may need. We can also help you replace your water heater if it ever reaches that age or simply dies.
Give us a call today at (832) 400-3646 for a free quote, or fill out the form on our contact page. You should also visit our water heater repair and installation page to find more details regarding our services.