Do you take your car in for regular service for things like oil changes and tire rotations? Well, your water heater needs regular maintenance just like your car does, and fall and winter is one of the best times to perform these steps.
And if you're a new homeowner or aren't familiar with water heater maintenance, today’s topic will be about how you can get your water heater ready for the upcoming fall, winter, and holiday season. These steps will also prevent damage to your water heater and your home, and protect your family at the same time.
- Test the TPR valve: While it may be alarming to learn that your water heater can explode, rest assured that this is not a common occurrence. In fact, every water heater is equipped with a safety device called a temperature and pressure relief valve that’s designed to prevent just such a catastrophe. To ensure that the relief valve is working, open the metal lever to open the valve. When water comes pouring from the discharge pipe, you know the TPR valve is working. If there's no water or just a few drops, have the valve replaced.
- Inspect the anode rod: Your water heater also came equipped with something called an anode rod, which is responsible for attracting rust away from the walls of the tank. Because the anode rod corrodes over time, it will eventually stop working properly. When this happens, the anode rod must be replaced to keep the tank from rusting.
Make sure you check the anode rod for corrosion every couple years and replace it every five years.
- Flush the tank: The water that comes into your house and fills your water heater is full of sediment, minerals, and elements that can get trapped in the bottom of the tank. This buildup can not only cause the tank to rust, but it can also create a breeding ground for bacteria that can get into your drinking water, your bath water, and your dish water. To prevent this from happening, you should flush the tank every year by draining out the water, running clean water through the tank, and refilling the tank with new water.
- Adjust the temperature: Another way that you can prevent bacteria from getting into your water is by increasing the temperature of your water heater. The magic number seems to be 140 F because it kills bacteria without burning skin. Have a look at the thermostat or setting on your water heater, and adjust the temperature as necessary.
Prevent Energy Loss
- Add more insulation. Adding insulation to the tank and pipes of your water heater can improve the efficiency of the unit and let you reduce the temperature of the water without changing the water coming out of the taps. If your tank feels warm to the touch, outfit it with an insulating jacket or blanket. And if there’s no insulation on the pipes, cut some insulating sleeves and secure them to the pipes.
These five fall and winter water heater maintenance tips are very important when it comes to protecting your family, your home, and your water heater. By following these steps, you can prevent damage to your house, to your skin, and to the unit itself.
And if you find you need help along the way, with this or any other project, Hull Plumbing is always here to help. Give us a call today at (405) 246-9763 to schedule an appointment for your Oklahoma City, OK home.