How to Maintain A Water Heater
Changing out my old water heater isn’t in the budget right now, therefore I’m not going to do it. What can be done to improve the efficiency of the system? — David Tichy of Fairfield, Connecticut, responds. Lance Marques of Swezey Fuel Co., an HVAC contractor, responds: You may improve the operational efficiency and lifetime of a water heater by following many simple and affordable procedures. Some tasks, such as installing insulation and adjusting the thermostat, only need to be completed once.
The advantages of taking good care of your water heater are undeniable.
The removal of silt from the tank increases the efficiency and the longevity of the tank.
It is significantly less expensive to replace a worn-out rod than it is to purchase a new heater.
Pictured: This rusted wire is all that’s left of what was once a 34-inch anode rod composed of aluminum or magnesium, which has since rusted away.
Steps on How to Maintain a Hot Water Heater
Ryan Benyi is a young man from New York City.
- Immediately turn off the electricity and turn off the cold-water supply valve. Place a bucket beneath the pipe that is linked to the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve, which is located on the top or side of the storage tank. (This valve opens if the pressure in the tank rises to an unsafe level.)
- Lift the tab on the valve to allow some water to flow out, then release it. If the water continues to flow, drain the tank partially, remove the old valve using a pipe wrench, and replace it with a new valve.
2. Check the Anode Rod
Ryan Benyi is a young man from New York City.
- Connect a hose to the tank’s drain cock and let a few litres of water to flow from the tank
- Now, insert a 1 1/16-inch socket into the hex head of the rod on top of the heater (or under its top plate) and remove the rod from the heater. When you find one that is less than 12 inches thick or coated with calcium, replace it with a new one and wrap the threads with Teflon tape before reinstalling and tightening it tightly. If there is limited space above the tank, this segmented rod should be used.
3. Drain the Tank and Wash Out Sediment
Ryan Benyi is a young man from New York City.
- Drain the remaining water from the tank into a bucket, and then temporarily open the cold-water supply valve to stir up the silt on the tank’s bottom. Continue rinsing and draining until only clean water comes out of the hose. Close the drain cock, refill the tank, and re-connect the power to the device.
4. Adjust the Temperature
Ryan Benyi is a young man from New York City.
- Locate the temperature dial on the side of the tank and unscrew the cover that protects the dial. Using a flathead screwdriver, rotate the dial until it is at 120 degrees. On average, every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature is dropped results in a 5 percent reduction in energy expenses. In the event that you will be away from home for more than three days, turn off the water heater and set the thermostat to the lowest possible level.
5. Insulate the Pipes
Ryan Benyi is a young man from New York City.
- Purchase some 3/8-inch-thick foam pipe insulation that is self-sticking and has a diameter that matches the pipes. As far as you are able to reach, slide the foam over the hot and cold water lines. The use of insulation around the cold-water pipe helps to avoid condensation in the summer. Remove the tape from the insulation and squeeze it closed. The pipe should be covered with 1-inch-thick unfaced fiberglass pipe wrap if it is less than 6 inches away from the flue.
6. Insulate the Heater
Ryan Benyi is a young man from New York City.
- Cut the insulating blanket (shown here: R-4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap) to fit around the pipes, the TPR valve, and the temperature control that protrudes from the tank’s bottom. Wrap the tank’s side with foil tape, then tape the cuts closed with tape. Covering the tops of oil or gas heaters is not recommended. Cap an electric heater with an enormous circle of insulation, then fasten the edge of the circle to the side of the tank with tape.
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How to Extend Your Water Heater’s Lifespan
A few minutes of basic maintenance once a year will help you extend the life of your water heater tank while also ensuring that your water heater remains efficient and safe.
Water heaters are generally able to operate flawlessly for a decade or more with no maintenance, making them an easy target for neglect. However, investing a few minutes once a year in water heater maintenance will pay off in the long run by increasing the tank’s life span as well as preserving the efficiency and safety of your water heater. If you are experiencing difficulties with your water heater, here are some water heater repair ideas to keep it running smoothly.
Project step-by-step (3)
The pressure-relief valve, which is placed on the top or side of the water heater, should be checked. This valve automatically opens if the pressure within the tank rises to an excessive level.
) (Excessive pressure may really cause the tank to explode.) Placing a bucket beneath the discharge pipe on your water heater tank and gently lifting the lever on the pressure-relief valve will allow you to test it.
Replace the Valve (if Necessary)
If the valve does not discharge water when the lever is lifted, the valve should be replaced. The procedure for replacing the valve is straightforward: shut off the water, dump the tank, remove the discharge pipe, and then unscrew the old valve. Sealant tape should be applied to the threads of the new valve before it is screwed in. Depending on how old your valve is and whether or not it has ever been checked, it may leak after you have tested it. If this is the case, the valve should be replaced.
Check Your Work
Close the shutoff valve on the cold water supply line that feeds the water heater, and then turn off the water heater. Afterwards, turn on the hot water at any faucet to relieve the pressure that has built up inside the water heater’s tank. Keep the water running until you’re through with your task. If you have an electric heater, make sure the power is turned off at the main switch. When using a gas heater, make sure the gas control dial is set to “off.” How to Adjust the Temperature of a Water Heater Step 2
Drain Sediments From the Water Heater Tank
Drain the tank in order to flush out sediments that have accumulated at the bottom of the tank’s sediment trap. As a result of sediment building, your water heater’s life is shortened and its efficiency is reduced, increasing your energy cost. Draining two or three liters of water is generally sufficient to wash out sediments; nevertheless, always allow the water to run until there are no more particles visible in the bucket after that. Start by slowly opening the drain valve and allowing the water to drain until it is clear and free of sediments.
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Gurgling or Groaning Noises
If you hear gurgling or moaning noises coming from the heater, don’t worry about it. The sound you’re hearing is simply air entering the system as the water drains out. If, once you’ve finished, the drain valve won’t seal firmly, drain the tank fully, detach the old valve, and screw in a new one. To re-start the water heater, open the shutdown valve and turn on any faucet that has hot water to flush out any trapped air from the system. Then switch on the power or re-ignite the pilot to complete the process.
If the dial does not have numbers, use a culinary thermometer to determine the temperature of the water.
Here’s a video on testing your water heater element:
The Family Handyman is a fictional character created by the author of the novel The Family Handyman.
Maintain a Water Heater
Even though hot water is a contemporary need, updating your water heater may be a costly endeavor. Proper maintenance may extend the life of your heater, sparing you the inconvenience and money of having to replace it too soon after installation.
Gas and electric water heaters may be kept in peak operating condition with a little elbow grease.
Some repairs are straightforward, such as how to drain a gas or electric water heater and pressure release valve, as well as how to maintain a tank or pilot light. You should, however, always consult a professional if you aren’t comfortable working around gas or electricity.
Check the Pressure Valve
In both gas and electric water heaters, a safety device known as a temperature and pressure relief valve, or T P valve, is included for further protection. In the case that the tank becomes overpressurized, the relief valve opens and allows the pressure to be released. It is possible for the tank to overpressurize and explode if the valve does not function properly. When doing maintenance on your water heater, always use gloves, goggles, and other protective clothes to keep yourself and others safe.
Flush the Tank
In addition to decreasing the energy efficiency of your water heater, sediment accumulation in the tank might choke your water pipes. By cleaning the tank every time you check the pressure relief valve, you may avoid these problems and extend the life of your machine.
Gas Water Heaters: Lighting the Pilot
In addition to decreasing the energy efficiency of your water heater, sediment accumulation can clog your water pipes as well. By cleaning the tank every time you check the pressure relief valve, you may avoid these issues and extend the life of your machine.
Leaks and Drips
Follow these procedures to deal with leaking or dripping faucets.
How to Care for Your Water Heater
It takes a lot of effort from your water heater to provide you with warm showers, clean clothing, and gleaming pots and pans. Make sure to offer your water heater some love by following a normal maintenance program that will keep it working for its estimated 15-year lifespan, and potentially even longer than that. Related:Do you believe you may require a new water heater? What to Look for
Here’s What You Need To Do:
Set the thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is possible to save up to 5 percent on energy bills for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit that the temperature is lowered, and you will also lessen the danger of scorching. Unless the appliance’s handbook specifies otherwise, always keep a 2-foot space around the appliance. A quarter of the tank should be drained at least once every few months to eliminate silt and other debris. Turn off the cold water supply and connect a garden hose to the drain valve, allowing the water to drain into a bucket until it is clean of debris.
Additionally, the unit operates more silently as a result of this.
Maintain a close eye on the valve once it has been tested for leaks of any size.
If any of the following conditions are met, the rod should be replaced:
- Set the temperature on the thermostat to 120°F. Lowering the temperature by 10 degrees can result in a savings of up to 5 percent in energy expenses, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of scorching. Unless otherwise specified in the handbook, always keep a 2-foot clearance around the appliance. A quarter of the tank should be drained at least once every six months to eliminate silt and other debris. Turn off the cold water supply and connect a garden hose to the drain valve, allowing the water to drain into a bucket until it is completely clean. To clear the water if it continues to be hazy, open the water supply valve for a brief period of time to mix up any leftover sediment before draining the tank. As a result, the unit operates more silently as a result of this modification. Test the temperature-pressure relief valve at least once a year by quickly emptying it two or three times in a short period of time. Continue to watch for tiny leaks from the valve once the testing is completed. Every three years, release the hex head screw and remove the sacrificial anode rod to inspect it for damage. If any of the following conditions are met, the rod should be replaced.
Be sure that older units are properly insulated with a fiberglass jacket to increase efficiency, and that no contact occurs with the flue (newer units should already be insulated; check your owner’s handbook to make sure).
In addition, insulate both the hot and cold water lines. Set gas heater thermostats to “vacation” mode when you leave town so that the pilot light is maintained but no water is heated while you are away from the house. Homeowners are looking for ways to save money on their appliance energy costs.
DIY Water Heater Servicing in Three Easy Steps
In general, a water heater has an expected lifespan of 8 to 12 years, but only if it is properly maintained. It is possible to extend the life of your water heater with a simple three-step annual maintenance regimen. No need to hire a professional to do normal maintenance tasks if you’re doing them yourself. A screwdriver and a bucket are generally all that is required for a homeowner to conduct the water heater service themselves. Turn off the electricity (for electric water heaters) or the gas supply (for gas water heaters) before you begin to ensure your safety:
- When using electricity, turn off the water heater’s circuit breaker at your home’s service panel (breaker box). For gas water heaters, turn the pilot knob (which is situated on the water heater’s gas valve/thermostat) to the OFF position.
Do a Mini-Flush
Maintaining the tank’s energy efficiency is accomplished by removing silt from the bottom of the tank, which helps to keep rust and corrosion from developing. Although a full flush of the water heater tank is recommended, doing so necessitates the shutdown of the water heater. It is possible to do a mini-flush while the water heater is operating, and it is effective and takes only a fraction of the time:
- Drain the water heater tank by placing a bucket beneath the drain valve, which may be found near the bottom of the tank. The valve should be turned counterclockwise in order to release 1 to 2 gallons of water into a bucket. Some drain valves feature a handle, while others have a short stem with a groove for a flathead screwdriver, which makes it easier to open and close them. Warning: The water will be quite hot, so use caution to prevent burning yourself. Close the valve by twisting it in the clockwise direction.
If the valve won’t open, call a plumber to come out and do maintenance on the valve. Home-Cost.com was founded in 2009.
Test the T P Valve
T P relief valve is an important safety component of your water heater. It regulates the temperature and pressure of the water heater. It automatically opens when it detects a dangerous buildup of pressure or an abnormally high temperature inside the water heater tank, allowing the pressure to be released. Water heaters are susceptible to explosions if they do not have an operationalT P valve. The T P valve should be tested once a year, according to the water heater manufacturer. Depending on the model, the T P valve may be situated at the top of the heater tank or in the side wall, and it has a discharge tube that extends down toward the bottom of the heater tank, as shown.
- Place a bucket beneath the end of the discharge tube that is linked to the T P valve to catch the water. Manually opening the valve requires lifting up on the lever of the valve. The hot water will be released via the discharge tube and into the bucket as a result of this action. The water is quite hot, so use caution when it comes into touch with your skin. Allow the water to run for a few seconds before releasing the lever and allowing it to click back into place, thus turning off the water supply.
A replacement valve must be used if the T P valve does not open and release water during testing, or if it leaks after testing. Home-Cost.com was founded in 2009.
Dial Down the Temperature
Water heaters are commonly installed at a temperature of 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the manufacturer. The Department of Energy recommends a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for most families, claiming that doing so can save energy expenditures for water heating by more than 5 percent in most situations. Lower temperatures also lower the chance of scorching and limit the buildup of mineral deposits in your water heater tank, which are both undesirable outcomes. In order to reduce the temperature of water coming from a gas water heater, turn down the temperature dial on the heater’s gas valve to 120 degrees F.
- Close the circuit breaker that supplies electricity to your water heater in your home’s breaker box. Remove the access panel from the thermostat and adjust the temperature to the desired temperature. It is possible that a flathead screwdriver will be required. To restore electricity, replace the thermostat cover and switch on the circuit breakers again.
A common feature of electric water heaters is the presence of both an upper and a lower thermostat.
If your home has two thermostats, set the lower thermostat to the same temperature as the top thermostat. Home-Cost.com was founded in 2009.
Hot Water Heater Maintenance: What You Can (and Can’t) Do on Your Own
While your water heater is not a need in the traditional sense, it is one of those contemporary conveniences that you can’t fathom living without. It’s impossible not to desire consistent hot water throughout the house. However, if you do not do regular maintenance, you may find yourself in the unexpected position of having to take a cold shower. As a result of the fact that your hot water heater is concealed, it is simple to forget about it. However, it requires regular maintenance in the same way that any other item in your home does.
During this article, we’ll go over what you can accomplish on your own and what duties should be left to a professional plumber to complete.
Are you prepared to make certain that you constantly have hot water available?
How Often Does Your Hot Water Heater Need Maintenance?
Annual checks and flushes are essential for maintaining a safe and energy-efficient water heater. However, while this article covers DIY solutions that you may complete on your own today, it is better to get a professional plumber to perform your formal annual inspection. Water heaters are devices that combine electricity, water, and, in certain cases, gas. If you don’t have the proper tools and knowledge, these may be dangerous equipment.
Your Annual Hot Water Heater Maintenance Checklist
Consider this to be a checklist for your annual inspection. When you have a professional plumber go over your hot water heater, you should ask them to double-check all of the items on this list. Some of these can be completed by the individual. However, we’ll mention it again for safety’s sake: if you don’t feel completely comfortable with any of these measures, we recommend that you consult with a qualified specialist.
✓ Test the Pressure Relief Valve
A pressure relief valve should be installed on all hot water heaters that include a storage tank. This valve is an extremely important safety feature. Whenever harmful pressure levels are reached, this valve permits water to flow away safely. To check the pressure relief valve, just lift the tab on the valve and let go of the tab until the valve stops working. When the tab is up, the water should flow, but when the tab is down, the water should stop. If you have any problems, you will most likely require a new relief valve.
✓ Flush the Water Heater to Remove Sediment
Regardless of whether you have hard or soft water, your hot water heater can accumulate a large quantity of sediment over the course of a year. Debris in your water tank can increase the likelihood of damage, lower the quantity of water accessible in your tank, and block your water lines. With another way of saying it, silt accumulation is harmful. You’ll need to cleanse your tank at least once a year if you have hard water, or every six months if you don’t. The good news is that everything is still on track.
The bad news is that it is not good.
You’ll want to ensure sure the power is shut off and that you have a safe location to drain the water that has been clogged with debris.
We recommend that you hire a professional to do a comprehensive drain and inspection service. Subscribe to our email newsletter to stay up to date on the latest news and offers. Now is the time to subscribe.
✓ Inspect the Anode Rod
The anode rod is responsible for protecting the inner lining of the tank of your hot water heater. It is constructed of a steel core wire with a zinc, aluminum, or other comparable material coating applied over the top. Anode rod testing is a preventative maintenance operation that helps to guarantee that you do not wind up with a leaking hot water tank in the long run. Draining some water, loosening the hex head, and inspecting the thickness and coating of the rod are all steps in the inspection procedure.
This is something you’ll most likely want to entrust to a professional plumber.
✓ Insulate the Heater and Pipes
Are you looking for a maintenance assignment that can help you save money on your electricity bills? Your water heater is built to store a significant volume of hot water at a steady temperature for an extended period of time. Although this is a simple way to take a hot shower at any time of day, it is not necessarily the most energy-efficient method. The storage tank has been insulated in order to limit the quantity of heat that is wasted throughout the system. However, there are a few things you can do to boost the insulation.
- Installation will take some time and effort due to the fact that it will need to be trimmed around pipes, temperature controls, pressure relief valves, and other important components.
- Pipe insulation is available in a variety of sizes to accommodate the standard diameters of water lines.
- In addition, make sure to cover both the hot and cold water pipes.
- Condensation is prevented from accumulating on the cold pipe by insulating it throughout the summer.
Your Tankless Hot Water Heater Maintenance Checklist
Tankless hot water heaters are highly useful for a variety of reasons. They eliminate the need for a storage tank by supplying hot water on demand throughout the residence instead. Because they are significantly smaller in size than standard hot water heaters, they are frequently utilized in smaller residences. Furthermore, if your hot water use is modest, they may be a more energy-efficient solution. As with standard hot water heaters with storage tanks, there are various yearly maintenance activities to be performed on solar hot water heaters.
✓ Descale the Tankless System
Tankless hot water heaters, as the name indicates, do not have storage tanks for hot water. Sediment, on the other hand, continues to accumulate. Typically, it will gather around the pipes, valves, and inlets of your tankless water heating and cooling system. If you want to completely clear out the mineral buildup in your tankless hot water heating system, you’ll need a flush kit. This process entails shutting down the electricity or gas to your home or business. In addition, you’ll need to turn off the water valves.
Another work that may be completed safely and promptly by a local plumber is replacing a toilet. Cleaning your system incorrectly can result in contaminated drinking water, electric shock, or a significant accumulation of mineral deposits in your system, among other consequences.
✓ Check the Temperature Setting
Reviewing the temperature settings of your tankless system on a yearly basis is a wise decision. If the system is cranked up too high, it will raise your utility costs as well as increase the quantity of scale that accumulates in the system’s pipes. OSHA advises that a hot water heater be set as high as 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The water will be less likely to contain hazardous germs if it is heated to that temperature. The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States, on the other hand, advises that in-home hot water heaters be set at 120° F.
When It’s Time to Call a Professional Plumber
You should almost surely contact a professional plumber if you can’t recall the last time your water heater was serviced. A competent plumber can make certain that all necessary maintenance is completed appropriately. In addition, their knowledge will assist them in identifying any other potential difficulties that you may have overlooked. While the plumber is on the job, we recommend that you inquire about the maintenance measures they recommend you conduct on your own and how often they recommend you do so.
How to Maintain & Drain A Water Heater: 8 Step Guide
Date of publication: December 2019 You may take your water heater for granted until it stops working and you are forced to take a frigid shower in the middle of winter. Even worse, it might cease operating altogether, resulting in water splattered all over the floor. Fortunately, a hot water heater does not require much maintenance, although emptying it on a regular basis may assist to ensure that it continues to operate smoothly. Consider the following recommendations for maintaining your water heater.
According to The Family Handyman, silt builds up in the bottom of a water heater over time, which can cause obstructions in the system.
If you do not properly maintain your water heater, it may not operate at peak efficiency or may even fail to operate at all in some cases.
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A high level of protection for your house makes all the difference when it comes to keeping your family safe. Allstate home insurance can assist you in protecting what is important to you. Request a quote Locate a representative. When it comes to draining a water heater, the DIY Network recommends the following measures. The owner’s handbook for your water heater will provide you with particular information on your water heater. For those who are uncomfortable completing this sort of maintenance on their water heater, contact a plumber to arrange for a professional draining to be performed.
- A water line and a shutdown valve leading into the water heater may be found at the very top of the water heater’s tank.
- Step 2: Disconnect the water heater’s power supply line.
- Alternatively, if you have an electric water heater, turn off the electricity at your home’s electrical panel.
- If you have a gas water heater, according to the DIY Network, you may change the water heater’s thermostat to “pilot” to complete this procedure.
- Check your water heater’s owner’s handbook and follow the directions that are provided for your particular water heater.
- Because your water heater is running at a high temperature, it is incredibly hot.
- (According to BobVila.com, you should at the very least wait a few hours.) In addition, taking a hot shower can assist to accelerate the cooling process.) Step 4: Connect a hose to the drain valve.
Connect the other end of the hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of your water heater.
The hot water tap, such as a sink faucet, that is closest to the water heater should be opened.
According to the DIY Network, it is preferable to use a tap that is located on the floor above the water heater.
As soon as you turn on this valve, the water will begin to drain out of the storage tank.
Step 7: Reconnect the water supply to the tank and flush it with fresh, clean water to finish the job.
It is necessary to repeat this process until the water flows clean.
Step 8: Refill the tank with water.
Return the water supply to its original setting to begin replenishing the tank. Once the tank is full, turn on the electricity or gas supply to the water heater to re-energize it. While draining the tank, remember to turn off the faucet that you had previously turned on.
How Often Should You Drain Your Water Heater?
According to both BobVila.com and The Family Handyman, it’s a good idea to empty your water heater at least once a year in general. If you reside in a hard water area, on the other hand, according to Angie’s List, you may need to empty your water more often. Always remember to consult your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer suggests before making any changes. Water heaters are relatively low-maintenance appliances, but it’s important to remember to drain yours on a regular basis. If you do this, you may be able to keep it working effectively and the hot water going.
Please keep in mind that a certain precaution may not be suitable or effective in every situation, and that adopting preventative steps does not ensure a positive outcome.
How to Do Your Own Water Heater Maintenance
Continue to the main content You have a hot water heater in your garage, cellar, or closet, and it’s a hulking beast of an equipment. Although you may not think about it much, you may find yourself asking, “Should I be doing regular maintenance on that thing?” when you least expect it. The quick answer is that sure, it is possible. Regular water heater maintenance may help you get the most out of your water heater by extending its life, making it more energy efficient, and avoiding costly (and disruptive) crises.
It is important to understand how your water heater works and what type of care it requires so that you and your water heater may live a long and healthy life together.
It operates in the following ways: cold water enters the heater by the top, and then the water is heated by a heating element located inside the tank.
Isn’t it straightforward?
Water heater parts to know
If you plan to perform routine maintenance on your water heater, you’ll need to become even more familiar with it. Here are a few critical components that you should be aware of before doing any maintenance. Water shutdown valve: In the event of an emergency, here is where you will turn off the water supply to your hot water heater. You’ll locate it on the top of your water heater, just next to the cold water line that comes in. It’s possible to crank the dial counterclockwise (righty-tighty) to stop the flow of water.
- Gas shutoff valve: Just as the water shutdown valve is crucial in an emergency, the gas shutoff valve is as important.
- Turn it so that it is perpendicular to the pipe in order to stop the gas flow.
- Allowing water to drain from your water heater requires turning the knob counterclockwise (lefty-loosey).
- This valve is designed to automatically release water or air pressure in the tank of your water heater if the pressure builds up to a dangerous level within the heater.
- If your water heater has a pressure relief valve, it should be positioned approximately two-thirds of the way up the tank, with a hose connecting to it that stops a few inches above the floor.
- It goes without saying that your hot water heater thermostat is in charge of controlling the temperature of the water that comes out of the tank.
- The United States Department of Electricity suggests that you set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit in order to conserve energy and avoid scorching.
The heating element is as follows: The heating element of your hot water heater is placed within the unit, but depending on the type of water heater you have, you may also be able to reach it from the exterior of the unit.
The water is heated by two horizontal electric rods in an electric water heater, which is the most common type.
In order for any corrosive minerals that may be present in your water to erode the rod and not the tank’s inside, the rod must be attracted to the tank’s interior.
Water heater maintenance should be performed on a regular basis.
Extra insulation keeps the water warmer for a longer period of time, reducing the amount of work your water heater’s heating element needs to do, resulting in energy and money savings.
Simply wrap it around the tank of your water heater, taking care not to encircle any vents, and attach it with zip ties or duct tape to keep it in place.
Never forget about your tank’s pipes when you are packing it up for the winter. Pipe coverings made of insulating foam can also help to keep heat from escaping.
Once a month: inspect your water heater
Inspecting your water heater’s pipes and valves on a regular basis can detect rust and leaks before they become a serious problem. Please believe us when we say that performing a fast examination once a month is far less difficult than coping with a disastrous flood caused by a leak that could have been avoided. Put a monthly reminder on your calendar to make it easier to remember.
Once a year: water heater flush
Over time, corrosive minerals from your water supply might build up in the bottom of your water heater, causing it to sludge and corrode further. Not only is your heater consuming energy to heat this sludge in conjunction with your water, but the sediment from the sludge has the potential to eat through the bottom of the tank as well. Water heater maintenance is simple, and flushing the sediment out of your tank is one of the most critical things you can do to maintain the life of your water heater’s tank.
The fundamental procedures are as follows:
- Turning off the heat in your unit may be accomplished using the thermostat. It is likely that you will be draining the tank, and heating an empty tank might cause harm. Turning off the water supply to the tank will stop the flow of water into the tank. Drain the water from the water heater by connecting a hose to the drain valve (any garden hose should work) and routing the other end of the hose (where the water will be flowing out) outside where the hot water from the water heater will not harm humans, pets, or plants. In order to equalize the pressure, open a hot water faucet inside your home. Otherwise, no water would flow out (any hot water faucet will do, like the kitchen sink or a bathroom sink). If there isn’t another entrance, the tank will resemble a straw with a thumb sticking out at the end. In the event that turning on a faucet does not work, you may need to open the pressure release valve on the water heater.
- Drain the water heater by opening the flow valve and allowing the hot water to drain out of the tank. This should take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes to complete. Close and reconnect the water shutdown valve, allowing for about 30 seconds of continuous water circulation in and out of the tank. This will flush out any debris that has accumulated at the bottom. Allow the water to flow out via the hose. Repeat this process a few times until the water flowing out is clear of junk
- Then, disconnect the hose and close the drain valve to finish cleaning the system. Reconnect the water supply and let your water heater to begin filling up once more. As soon as it is roughly halfway filled, you may switch off the water supply to the home or close the pressure release valve (if you used it). Using the thermostat, adjust the heat to your chosen setting after your tank is completely filled.
Once every four years: water heater anode replacement
Your anode rod is meant to gently corrode over time, so that your tank does not have to deal with the resulting corrosion. However, it can only perform this sacrificial function for a certain period of time until it runs out of options and leaves your tank exposed to rust. Fortunately, replacing it is a straightforward and affordable process. Moreover, just like with emptying out your tank, changing your anode rod once every four years is an excellent strategy to ensure that your water heater operates at peak performance for an extended period of time.
- Invest on a new fishing pole. The majority of anode rods are constructed of aluminum or magnesium. The kind you pick is mostly up to you, but it’s vital to double-check the size of your present anode rod and how it attaches to your water heater before making a decision. You’ll want to be certain that you buy a replacement with the appropriate sort of connection. When choosing your new rod, keep in mind that you’ll need plenty of headroom. A segmented anode rod is ideal for situations where there isn’t a lot of room between the top of the water heater and the ceiling. Because anode rods are lengthy and must be inserted through a small slot in the top of your water heater, we recommend purchasing one that is segmented. Get You may use Teflon tape to create a great, tight seal where you will be attaching the rod. Tape the threads at the top of your new anode rod together with a piece of tape. While you’re working, use the thermostat to turn off the heat in your water heater, and the water cutoff valve to turn off the water supply. Follow the same methods as you would for cleaning out your tank, however instead of draining the whole tank, only roughly two gallons should be removed. Remember to proceed with caution, since the water will be quite hot. Remove the plastic cover from the top of the tank, exposing the top of the old anode rod, and replace it. Remove the rod by unscrewing it with a socket wrench and carefully removing it. Once again, exercise extreme caution since it will be quite hot. If you plan on handling the rod or wiping up any leaking water, it’s a good idea to keep a few cloths handy. Insert your new rod into the opening left by the old one and tighten it down with your socket wrench to ensure it stays in place. Use a hacksaw to trim it down to size if it’s too long
- Otherwise, leave it as is. Once the new anode rod has been installed, you may proceed to refill your tank by turning on the water cutoff valve and inspecting for leaks around the anode rod fitting. If everything appears to be in working order, replace the plastic cap and reset the thermostat on your water tank, then give yourself a pat on the back for giving your water heater a fresh lease on life.
Pro tips for taking care of your water heater
- Cut it out if you’re in doubt. The water shutoff valve should be used in an emergency situation to stop the incoming water flow, and the gas shutoff valve or electric cutoff should be used to turn off the power to the unit
- If you’re in any doubt, consult with an expert. Water heater problems are not always easy to fix on your own—if you come across something that is beyond your ability to fix, Thumbtackis an excellent resource for finding a reputable plumber who can assist you with more difficult water heater repair difficulties. Flood sensors should be purchased just in case. In order to discover a water heater leak before it becomes a huge tragedy, it is a wise investment to invest in an electronic leak warning detector.
Your water heater may appear to be a colossal machine, but if you treat it with respect and provide it with regular maintenance, it will treat you with respect in return. If you include frequent water heater repair in your home maintenance regimen, you’ll be able to enjoy beautiful, warm showers for many years to come. You may learn more about home safety by reading ourUltimate Room-by-Room Guide to Household Safety. No. Water heater mineral deposits are minerals that are naturally found in clean drinking water, therefore when they are diluted in the drinking water that comes out of your taps, they are completely safe for consumption.
Because relighting the pilot light requires the use of invisible flammable gas and fire, we recommend that you leave it to the professionals if you’re apprehensive, and especially if you have an older hot water heater that has to be replaced.
Turn off the gas and let the area air out for a few minutes to ensure there is no gas in the atmosphere.
Performing regular water heater maintenance beginning the year after you purchase your heater can help to ensure that your heater remains relatively clear of sediment, and you should only have to drain a few gallons of water each time you use your heater.
However, it is still a good idea to completely cleanse the system every four to five years, or whenever the anode rod is replaced. For those with hard water, it may be necessary to do a more comprehensive water heater service on an irregular basis rather than the suggested yearly service.
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Kasey Tross’s own writing As a qualified Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and a freelance writer, Kasey has extensive knowledge and experience in emergency preparedness and security. As the mother of four children, two of whom are teenagers, Kasey understands the safety concerns that parents have when raising tech-savvy children in a connected world. She enjoys researching the latest security options for her own family as well as for SafeWise readers, and she hopes to share her findings with you.
How to Maintain a Gas Water Heater
It is critical to do regular water heater repair in order to keep your natural gas expense under control. Aside from the fact that natural gas water heaters consume less energy and are more cost-effective than electric water heaters, they are not without their own set of problems. If you don’t keep your water heater in excellent working order, you may still have high gas expenses to worry about. The Energy.gov website estimates that your water heater accounts for around 17 percent of your overall household energy use.
How Does a Gas Water Heater Work?
The agas burner is used in the operation of a gas-powered water heater. When cold water is introduced into the tank by an adip tube, this burner begins to heat the water. As the natural gas burns, it produces gases that rise through the tank and out of the tank through a chimney in the middle. As the air rises through the chimney in order to escape, the metal of the chimney and the surrounding water become heated. Following then, warm water rises and circulates via the heat-out pipe throughout the whole house’s plumbing system.
The thermostat on the water heater regulates the quantity of gas that is used to heat the water to a desired temperature.
The higher the temperature setting, the greater the amount of gas required to attain and maintain the desired temperature.
How do I Perform Water Heater Maintenance?
The majority of gas water heaters have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years before they need to be replaced. Here are some easy water heater maintenance things that will help you get the most out of your gas water heater for the least amount of money. In addition to gas water heaters, these recommendations also apply to electric water heaters.
Check the thermostat
For your water heater, Energy.gov recommended that the water temperature not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you set it higher than this, the amount of gas that is consumed will rise, resulting in a greater gas bill for you. Examine the temperature of the water that is coming out of your faucets. The temperature should be at 120 degrees (or match the setting on your water heater thermostat). If this is not the case, there might be a number of contributing variables. For starters, it’s possible that your water heater’s thermostat isn’t working properly.
Another possibility is that you are losing heat through uninsulated pipes when warm running water flows from the water heater tank to the faucet. Third, it’s possible that silt has accumulated in your water heater, which is causing it to perform less efficiently. (More on it in a moment.)
Test the pressure relief valve annually
Following that, check the temperature and pressure relief valve (T P valve) on a yearly basis. This valve is responsible for monitoring and controlling the pressure within the tank of your water heater. If there is a problem with the pressure, water will seep from this valve to prevent a buildup of pressure. (This is a positive development!) In most cases, the T P valve is located on the top or side of the heater, and it is linked to a drainage pipe. You’ll need to remove the pipe from the wall with a wrench and place a bucket or bowl below it to catch the water.
As a result, the water flow from the valve will be slow and sluggish.
If this does not occur, it indicates that the pressure release valve must be replaced as soon as possible.
Flush out sediment from the tank annually
Sediment is the most common cause of water heater malfunctions and even complete failures to function. Water minerals are used to construct the structure, with substances gathering at the bottom of the tank to serve as a storage area. There is a possibility that it takes the form of sand or microscopic particles, so forming an unneeded barrier. Since the heater is working harder to heat numerous gadgets throughout the house, your utility cost will rise as well as your bill. A year is sufficient time for silt to accumulate at the bottom of the tank.
In addition, it is a very significant component of water heater upkeep.
Unfortunately, if the heater is left unattended for an extended period of time, it may fail.
This is no longer repairable and will necessitate the complete replacement of the heater.
Check the anode rod every 3 years
The anode rod should be checked as the following item on the water heater maintenance checklist. For those who are unfamiliar with this rod, it is the mini-superhero who prevents the water heater from corroding away. Due to the fact that water corrodes metal, logic implies that the tank should be corroded. However, this is not the case due to the little anode rod that has been put into the top of the tank. The “sacrificial rod” is made of magnesium or aluminum, which corrodes swiftly in water, and it rusts away, allowing the tank to stay intact.
If you don’t, you’ll notice rusty water and/or a heater that doesn’t work.
This may be accomplished by releasing the hex head screw and removing the anode rod.
The rod should be replaced when it is less than 1/2 inch thick, when it has a calcium coating, or when the core steel wire is more than 6 inches from the surface of the rod. You may either replace this rod on your own or hire a plumber to do it for you.
How Can I Tell if My Water Heater Has Sediment?
The majority of the United States has hard water. In fact, hard water may be found in 85 percent of the water supply in the United States. Because of the presence of calcium and magnesium in the water, calcium carbonite or lime scale can build up in your water heater. When the sediment levels reach high levels, the sediment might resemble pebbles in your water heater. As a result, if you haven’t cleansed your water heater in a while, it is probable that you have sediment in it. If you pay attention to the sound of your water heater, you can detect if there are mineral deposits or silt present.
- Knocking or banging noises will be heard emanating from the tank, indicating that silt has solidified at the bottom of the tank.
- Additionally, you’re using more natural gas to heat your water as a result of this.
- The sound should be consistent across the whole tank of water heater.
- The silt in the tank, on the other hand, is most likely to blame.
- There is no hot water available
- The temperature of the water changes
- Your hot water appears to be rusted
- It takes a long time for water to heat up
It is possible for water heater sediment to resemble fine grains of sand or gravel. (Photo courtesy of Mr. Rooter)
How do I Flush a Water Heater to Remove Sediment?
Although flushing your water heater to remove sediment is a straightforward procedure, it is one of the most overlooked aspects of water heater maintenance. It is recommended that you include it on your Fall home maintenance checklist. Time commitment: 3 hours. Instructions on how to remove sediment from a hot water heater
- Turn off the water heater if necessary. Turn the thermostat knob all the way to the left. It’s possible that your water heater has a “pilot” option as well. Disconnect the gas supply to the water heater. Additionally, switch off the gas entirely as an extra safety precaution. Located on the gas line that enters the water heater, you’ll locate the valve. Turn off the cold water supply tap on your home’s plumbing system. The cold water valve is normally located on the top of your water heater and appears similar to a standard outdoor faucet. Open the pressure release valve if necessary (optional) When draining, opening the pressure relief valve can make the water flow more freely and smoothly. Take cautious, because this water will be quite hot
- Allow the water in your tank to cool completely before continuing. This might take anywhere from 2 to 3 hours, depending on the size of your water tank. Entrance inside your home and activation of the hot water to flush the pipes Turn on the hot water at two different locations, such as a sink and a bathtub. Using this method, you will avoid the formation of a vacuum in the water lines while you are draining the water tank. Connect a garden hose to the drain valve on the water tank to remove any excess water. The drain valve may be found on the tank’s side, at the bottom. Connect the line to the tank using a hose clamp. Then check to be that the other end of the hose is connected to the outside. If your water tank is located in the basement, you may want a large bucket as well as a portable pump to get the water outside of the house. Turn on the drain valve spigot and let the water tank to empty completely. Drain the water from your tank until the water flows crystal clear. In certain cases, if you have been routinely draining the sediment from your tank, you may only need to remove 1/4 to 1/2 of your tank. Fill the tank with cold water and flush it out. Depending on how much silt you have, you may need to drain the tank fully and clean it with cold water to thoroughly remove all of the debris. Turn on the cold water spigot to allow cold water to enter the tank in order to flush it. After a few minutes, only clear water should be coming out of the drain hose
- After the sediment has been drained, everything should be returned to its original configuration. Remove the hose from the drain valve after it has been turned off. If you accidentally opened the pressure release valve, close it immediately. Turn off all of the water taps in the home that were currently flowing. Once this is completed, switch on the cold water spigot to allow the tank to be refilled with water. Reset the water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit and relight the pilot light on the water heater. After 30 minutes, check to see if the water is hot.
If flushing your water heater appears to be beyond your capabilities (or just something you would prefer not to do), you may hire a local plumber to take care of the job for you. Maintaining your gas water heater can assist to ensure that your water heater continues to operate as intended. Aside from that, regular maintenance might help you avoid a high gas cost. Anyone who owns a natural gas water heater should be familiar with the importance of water heater maintenance. After all, if this item is properly maintained, the amount of energy it saves in your house is well worth the investment.
Here are some suggestions for lowering your winter gas cost.
Gas Water Heater FAQs
More commonly asked questions concerning gas water heaters may be found in the next section. What is the source of the knocking sound coming from my water heater? It’s possible that you have sediment in your water heater’s tank if it’s creating a banging sound. Sediment arises naturally as a result of the presence of chemicals and minerals in the water (also known as “hard water”). When heated, these chemicals and minerals decompose, resulting in the formation of silt. If your water heater is creating a banging sound, you should flush the unit or call a plumber for assistance.
Water heaters should be set at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Energy.gov, since it is the most energy efficient setting.
If you discover that you need to turn your water heater up to a higher setting in order to obtain hot water, you may want to check for sediment in the tank.
What is causing my gas water heater to not heat?
Check to check that the pilot light on your water heater is still lit before using it.
You can hire a plumber to relight the cigarette lighter for you.
It is not typical for a pilot light to extinguish on its own.
What should I do if I’m going on vacation and forget to switch off my gas water heater?
It is preferable to reduce the temperature of the water heater to a lower level.
Some water heaters even have a “vacation” option that may be selected. You’ll avoid having to worry about your gas water heater starting up and sustaining a high temperature while you’re gone. Save this article about water heater maintenance for later by pinning it to your Pinterest board.