5 Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Water Heater Running this Fall & Winter
Taking steps to keep your water heater functioning properly this fall and winter may just be one of the most important things you do around the house this season.
Whether you’re having family over for the holidays or going away on a winter vacation, the last thing you want is to run out of hot water or to have your pipes freeze on one of those unseasonably cold nights. If you’re not entirely sure what to do to maintain your water heater every year, here are five little tests to see if your unit is ready for the coming seasons.
Test One: The TPR Valve
The test: Have you checked your TPR valve this month?
If not: Do it now, and every month. This is the temperature and pressure relief valve, and it’s responsible for relieving pressure inside the tank when it becomes dangerously high. That means that without the TPR valve, the water heater is in fact at risk of exploding. Test the valve by flicking up the metal lever. If no water comes out the discharge pipe, then you should have somebody in to replace the valve immediately.
Test Two: Anode Rode
The test: Have you inspected or replaced the anode rod in the last year?
If not: Inspect the anode rod right away. This device is responsible for protecting the tank from corrosive elements in the water. And when the rod becomes too corroded to work, those same corrosive elements that destroyed the rod will begin attacking the tank instead.
Test Three: Temperature
The test: Do you know the temperature of your water heater?
If not: Go ahead and look at the thermostat now. If you have a gas heater, you will have a dial on the outside of your unit. On an electric heater, the process to see the thermostat is a little more involved.
You’ll have to remove the panel, the insulation, and possibly a plastic cover before you’ll be able to access the thermostat. However, it’s good to know where it is in case you ever need to increase or decrease the temperature of the water.
Test Four: Insulation
The test: Are your tank and pipes insulated?
If not: It might be worthwhile to get some insulation for the pipes and for the tank. You can save up to 15 percent on your energy bill by insulating the tank with a blanket or jacket, and you could even reduce the thermostat on your water heater by up to 4 F by insulating the pipes properly.
Test Five: Sediment
The test: Have you flushed your water heater this year?
If not: Grab a bucket and a hose and get ready to flush the tank. This is something you should be doing annually, as it will prevent sediment from building up in the bottom of the tank, which will prevent bacteria and rust from growing. When you’re finished flushing, just make sure that you fill the tank completely before turning the heater back on.
With these simple tasks, you’ll be able to keep your water heater running in tiptop shape for this winter and many more to come. And the longer you can make your water heater last, the longer you can put off buying an expensive new unit.
When it does come time for repairs or an installation for a new unit, call the plumbing and water heater experts at Arrow Plumbing, in Little Rock, AR. You can reach us at 501-588-3200.