How to Properly Maintain Your Water Heater
Properly maintaining your water heater is a great way to save on energy costs as well as extend the life of your water heater.You should install a universal flow monitor from Flowmeters.com to monitor your water usage efficiently and help you spot leaks before they cause damage. You should also inspect your water heater a few times a year at regular intervals.
. Here’s how the maintenance schedule should break down:
Every two months:
- Check for leaks at plumbing joints or from the tank. Moisture may sometimes be harmless condensation.
- Check plumbing joints for corrosion and replace as necessary.
- Open a nearby faucet or water tap. Listen for crackling, hammering, or other unusual sounds.
- Check flex hose and couplings for wear (for gas water heaters only).
- Smell for gas leaks (for gas water heaters only).
- Make sure there are no flammable materials nearby.
- Checkto make sure the water is set at the optimal temperature (usually 120 to 130 degrees).
- Open and close the pressure relief valve a few times to make sure it does so easily. This is the most likely part to fail on a water heater. Replace the pressure relief valve if necessary.
Every six months:
- Check the water heater for sediment and debris. In order to do this, you’ll want to drain and flush the tank.
- Turn off power. Use control knob for gas, or circuit breaker or switch box for electricity.
- Allow several hours for water to cool.
- Use cold water shutoff valve to turn off water supply.
- Open a nearby hot water tap. Make sure the tap is not at a lower level than the water heater.
- Fasten a garden hose to the drain valve, found close to the bottom of the water heater. The hose should reach the point where excess water will be released and at no point should it be higher than the drain valve.
- Open the drain valve. There will either be a dial you can turn by hand or a slot you can turn using a flathead screwdriver.
- Once you have drained a few gallons, collect some water and run it through a screen.
- If there is little sediment, flush a few more gallons and you are done. If there is a lot of build-up, turn the cold water supply on and off a few times while draining; keep this up until the water flowing out is clear and free of debris.
- Close drain valve and turn water supply on to fill tank.
- When water flowing from the hot water tap is at full steam, the tank is full. Turn the power back on.
Every twelve months:
- Check the anode rod for signs of corrosion. Its job is to attract any minerals or deposits in the water so it will get corroded instead of the tank.
- Follow steps 1-3 as outlined above.
- Use drain valve to drain a few gallons. This is to remove water from hot water pipes. Do not drain the actual tank.
- Find anode rod connection point, beneath a cap at the top of the water heater.
- Take off the cap and, using an adjustable wrench or a 1/16-inch socket (unless otherwise specified), turn the connection point counter clockwise to open.
- Carefully remove anode rod so that it doesn’t hit anything.
- Examine anode rod. Surface-level corrosion is okay, but if chunks of metal coating are missing, you’ll need to replace the anode rod (replacement may also be necessary if you see a lot of white sediment while draining the water heater every six months). If you need a new anode rod, get one that is pre-cut at a hardware or plumbing supply store. They can be cut with a hacksaw, but you can probably find one that is made for your water heater model.
- Put anode rod back in. Whether inserting the old rod or a new one, the process is the same:
- Wrap Teflon tape around top half of anode rod’s threads.
- Slide rod back into place and tighten.
Always exercise caution while inspecting your water heater and do not turn the power back on until all maintenance is completed. Doing the simple steps above will allow your water heater to operate at optimal performance and last years beyond its average lifespan.