Your water heater is probably your most beloved but least thought about appliance in your home. It ensures you have hot water for your shower in the morning and warm water for your dish washer in the evening. But because it is often overlooked, it sometimes doesn’t get the care it needs until something goes wrong. And when that something goes wrong, it could cause severe damage to your home. Proper maintenance can help ensure that your water heater works effectively, safely, and efficiently.
Please note that while these tasks may be simple for people familiar with hot water heaters, if you are not comfortable with gas or electric devices and have no experience working with hot water heaters, calling a professional is the best idea to ensure everyone’s safety. Also, if you rent your water heater, check in with the provider to see if they have maintenance professionals available to service your appliance or if they have certain requirements to maintain the warranty.
Check the pressure valve
If your hot water tank over-pressurizes, your Temperature and Pressure Valve is meant to release that pressure from the tank. It is really important that it works properly to prevent your tank from exploding or causing irreparable damage. Doing a once yearly check on your T&P valve by opening and closing it to see if water comes out can help ensure that everything is working as it should.
Drain and Clean the Tank
Sediment buildup is a major cause of inefficiency in water heaters. If your water comes from a well or you have hard water, your tank can easily build up minerals and sediments along the bottom of the tank where the heat element is, making it harder to heat your water. To help prevent this, once a year, drain the water from your tank and clean out the build up. Beware: if you have an older tank or if your water is relatively clean, draining your water tank might actually do more harm than good. Check with a professional if you’re unsure.
Change the filter
Some water tank models have filters for the air intakes. Vacuuming out these filters or changing them regularly will help prolong your tank’s lifespan.
Other quick tips
- If you’re going away for a few days, set the water heater to a lower temperature setting to save on energy and avoid any hot water problems while you’re gone.
- Don’t store anything combustible near the hot water tank, including cleaning supplies and paint cans.
- Make sure your water heater is stored in an area with proper ventilation and don’t store any items near the water heater.
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