Water Heater Maintenance: Don’t Settle for Lukewarm Water
In most cases, water heater maintenance should be performed by an expert; however, there are a few simple tasks homeowners can do over the course of the year. Combined, ensuring the appropriate maintenance for your water heater means you’ll benefit in terms of a more efficient system, energy savings, reliable access to hot water, fewer repairs and a longer service life for the unit. In short, investing in water heater maintenance every year translates to lower lifetime costs and a high return on investment. During a typical service visit, your technician should include these water heater maintenance tasks as part of the service:
- Draining the water heater tank to flush sediment out of the unit.
- Inspecting the system and all of its components for the damaging effects of sediment buildup.
- Cleaning the entire unit, removing dirt and debris from the heating element, bottom of the tank and more.
- Inspecting the safety of the pressure relief valve.
- Checking the safety and reliability of the pilot light, if your system employs one.
- Checking the fuel connections, ensuring there’s a reliable supply and the safe delivery of natural gas, oil or propane into the system.
- Inspecting the water heater for evidence of rusting or corrosion.
- Replacing parts as needed. For instance, the anode rod acts as the “sacrificial lamb” for corrosion and generally needs to be replaced every few years.
- Every six months, flush the system to remove harmful sediment. A sediment-free water heater will perform at peak efficiency.
- Every month, do a mini-flush of the water heater, removing only a small amount, up to 2 gallons, of water from the water heater.
- Be vigilant about keeping the area around the water heater clear of storage items and flammable substances.