Basic Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Most of us lead very busy lives, and when it comes to home maintenance, we tend to think more about tune-ups for our heating system and water being wasted by dripping faucets, then we do about making sure our tank style water heater is running efficiently. Here’s a few simple maintenance tips that are not costly or too time consuming for the average homeowner.

Temperature
Do you know what temperature your water heater is set at? The Dept. of Energy suggests a temperature of 120 degrees for the average home. Water heater manufacturers often ship their units with a setting of 140 degrees. You may save yourself some dollars by checking.

Your particular unit may have a gauge easily visible on the side of the tank, or it may have a cover that needs to be removed. If it is covered, unscrew it and use a flathead screwdriver to adjust the temperature setting. Then replace the cover. Easy enough?

Insulation
A water heater produces hot water. So it makes sense that we want to keep that heat from escaping as much as possible. Pipe insulation can be added to the pipes, and water heater blankets can be found at most hardware stores. Just remember, do not cover any of the gaauges, valves, caps or covers so that you can still have easy access when you need it.

Temperature & Pressure (T&P) Valve
Your T&P valve is a safety feature that is built into your water heater and should be tested every year. It is located at the top or side of the unit and will have a discharge tube that runs down toward the base of the water heater.

Place a bucket under the discharge tube.Open the valve by lifting up on the valve. You may hear a hissing sound from the pressure being released. Hot water should drain down into the bucket. Hold this open for a few seconds, then release it. Did the water shut off correctly? Is it leaking?

Small Water Heater Flush
Empty the bucket you just used and then place it under the drain valve. You should find that near the bottom of the heater tank. Open the valve and run about 1-2 gallons of water into the bucket. Close the valve. Is the water cloudy or clear? If the water is not clear you should plan time for a more complete flush to remove sediment that may affect the life and efficiency of your water heater.

Visual
The easiest thing that any home owner can do is to make a regular visual inspection of their  water heater. Look for rusting or leaks that you didn’t notice before. They are warning signals that your water heater may need maintenance or is nearing the end of its usefulness.

Waldman Plumbing & Heating has been helping the residents of Lynn and the North Shore area for over 100 years with their water heater repair and installations. If you’d like help with your water heater maintenance, check out our coupons and then give us a call for an appointment.

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