The water heater is essential for our homes as it provides the hot water that we need for washing clothes, dishes, our hands, and taking a shower or bath to name a few. Did you know that hot water heater maintenance is essential to lengthen its lifespan? If maintained properly, it can last 8 -12 years. However, the sediment accumulates at the bottom of the water heater and can clog the water lines. You can maintain it yourself or call in a professional. Let’s take a look at 4 tips for water heater maintenance and additional tips to get the longest life out of it as possible.
1. Flush The Hot Water Heater
Flushing the water heater every six months is essential. This is not a difficult task and a DIY if you follow the instructions below:
1. Turn off the water heater
2. Connect a garden hose to the water heater drain, which is near the base of the heater and put the other end of the hose in a large bucket.
3. Open the spigot on the drain and allow the water to run until it is clear. This is about a 20-25 minute process. This will allow the sediment that has settled at the bottom of the heater to come out.
2. Gas Water Heater or Electric Water Heater? Adjusting the Temperature and Resetting
If you are not sure what kind of water heater you have, you can figure it out by looking around the tank. There should be a label that says if it is gas or electric and how to turn it on and off. If you have a gas water heater, it is recommended you consult a professional as it is more complex than an electric water heater. Once you figure out the type of water heater you have,
1. A gas water heater has a thermostat near the bottom that can be easily adjusted by turning the knob.
2. If you have an electric water heater, turn off the breaker at the electrical service panel by flipping it and access the control panel of the water heater. The panel is usually near the bottom and can be accessed with a screwdriver. Once the panel is opened, use a screwdriver to adjust the temperature in 10-degree increments. Close the panel board, turn the power back on by flipping the breaker and wait an hour to see if the temperature adjusts.
3. Turning Your Gas Water Heater Off and Back On
1. We recommend you read the manufacturer’s instructions before starting. There is an access panel that is located on the bottom of the tank that you can take off. This is done by lifting the panel off and underneath is a heat shield. Look to see if there is a flame. Then, turn the control knob to the off position. If there is not, you will need to shut off the gas which is usually a red valve on a piece of metal or flexible piping running to the tank.
2. To Reset: Turn the gas back on and turn the knob to “pilot” and use the lighter button to cause a spark which ignites the pilot. You can view the pilot is lit through the small window opening at the access panel. Once the pilot is lit, give it a few seconds and slowly turn the control knob to add more gas to lit the entire water heater.
3. If it seems complicated or you are nervous about performing this maintenance, you can call a professional for help or look up the manufacturer’s instructions online.
4. Other Water Heater Maintenance Ideas
1. If you are traveling, or only live in your home part of the year, set the water heater on “vacation” mode. This will save you money because the water won’t heat up while you are gone.
2. Check the drain valve if you see water leaking and tighten it with a wrench. If this doesn’t work, call a professional.
3. Check the temperature release valve often, also known as the T&P. This discharges the water and lowers the temperature and pressure of the water heater.
4. Set the thermostat on the water heater at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. A professional can help with any of the ideas above and more!
A working hot water heater is very important in the home so it is essential to maintain it properly. Do you have questions about your hot water heater or have you found additional ideas for maintenance? Drop us a line below!