If you are like most people, you probably take your water heater for granted and don’t give it a lot of thought until it acts up. You may be surprised to learn that routine servicing and maintenance can extend the life of your water heater and save you money, too! Show your water heater a little love now to head off problems later. Here’s what you can do to keep it running efficiently.
Lower the Thermostat
You can adjust the temperature of your hot water yourself by setting the thermostat at the desired level. Many people set the hot water heater to 140 degrees, but unless you are running a restaurant, you really don’t need your water this hot. Set it to 120 degrees instead. This will provide plenty of hot water for showers and laundry without posing a risk of burning.
Keep the Area Clean
Check that nothing is stored within two feet of the water heater. Gas water heaters need oxygen to operate efficiently. Keeping the area neat and clean also makes it easier to see potential problems and prevent accidental fires.
Insulate the Water Heater
You can buy an insulating jacket for your water heater to prevent heat loss and conserve energy. These are typically easy to install, but if you are not the do-it-yourself kind, your plumber can easily do it for you.
Many people want to insulate their heater, but due to new government regulations, heaters actually have an additional 2 inches of insulation already. So at the end of the day, anything you add on the exterior would do little good. You'll see much more benefit if you insulate the hot water pipe after it leaves the water heater because, without insulation, you lose a lot of energy very quickly.
Hard water deposits in your water can settle in the water heater. If you notice that your water heater is getting noisy, this is likely the culprit. To check for sediment and give your water heater a quick cleaning, turn off the water supply and connect a hose to the outlet valve on your water heater. Drain about one fourth of the tank and refill it with fresh water. If the water is still cloudy, try again. Otherwise, call your plumber to have the entire tank flushed and residue removed.
Check the Anode Rod
This job is better left to the professionals, as we have the experience and expertise to assess whether or not the anode rod needs to be changed. As a rule, you should have the anode rod checked every three years.
Visually Inspect Your Water Heater
Many problems can be averted with an annual inspection of the water heater. Look for signs of leaks, corrosion or soot buildup on gas powered heaters. Note any problems you detect and discuss them with your plumber.
Doing your part by checking your water heater frequently and responding to issues promptly may head off more serious problems in the future. Having your plumber inspect and service your water heater once a year is also recommended, as your plumber can identify and correct potential problems before they cause a major issue. If you have questions or concerns about your water heater or would like to arrange a service visit, contact us today.