Your water heater is one of your home’s most important appliances, but it’s also one of your most vulnerable as well. Water heaters have to deal with a lot of stress factors every day: impure water that corrodes metal parts, changing temperatures that cause materials to expand and contract, and the sheer weight and pressure that can come from keeping dozens of gallons of water contained. This means every water heater should be periodically maintained, and yet water heater maintenance is often ignored or forgotten about by most people.
If you want to take better care of your water heater and enjoy the benefits that can include reduced energy costs and longer water heater life, check out these four easy-to-follow DIY maintenance tips.
Drain Your Water Heater Every Six Months
Unless you have a water purification system installed before your water heater, mineral content, dirt, and other debris can and will eventually get into your water heater tank. These heavy elements and substances will typically sink down to the bottom of your tank when it is at rest, accumulating into a crusty mess that can significantly inhibit heat transfer and reduce the quality of your hot water.
Draining your water heater completely will remove a large portion of this sediment. Simply shut off the power to your water heater, shut off the water supply line, and then attach a garden hose to the drain valve. Once the hose is placed somewhere well away from your home’s foundation, open the valve and allow the water to completely drain out of the tank. Sediment and debris should drain out with it. Once the tank has been drained, shut off the drain valve, disconnect the hose, and then turn the water back on. After allowing the tank to refill for a few minutes, turn the power back on and your water heater should roar back to life.
Periodically Open the Pressure Release Valve
Every water heater should have one or maybe even two pressure relief valves. These important devices are designed to open in the event that air and water pressure inside the tank reach dangerous levels that could result in an explosion. However, over time, these valves lose their ability to open when needed. This primarily happens when valves are not exercised, or opened and closed to loosen up the mechanical joints that allow them to operate.
Once your tank is drained but before you refill it, use this opportunity to open and close each valve a few times to loosen it. If a valve will not open, no matter how much force you place on it, call a plumber and have it replaced right away. Your water heater will be dangerous to use until this replacement is done.
Replace Your Anode Rod as Necessary
Almost every tank-style water heater will have what is known as an “anode rod,” or a metal rod that typically hangs down into the tank from the top. When an electrical current is run through this rod, the charge automatically accelerates the corrosion process on the rod itself, which in turn prevents water from attacking and corroding things like your heating elements or the tank itself.
Anode rods are intended to be a consumable component, meaning they need to be replaced somewhat regularly. Depending on the quality of your water, you should replace your anode rod roughly every three to five years to protect and preserve your water heater.
Visually Check for Leaks
Finally, a quick visual inspection is something everyone should periodically do for their water heater. Check beneath the tank to look for any water leaks. Check the sides of the tank to look for any signs of corrosion or rust. Check the water connections to see if there might be a slow drip. Should you spot any signs of a leak, don’t hesitate to call a professional for a more thorough inspection and evaluation of your water heater. A small leak can quickly develop into a big problem, so you’ll want to address this issue as soon as possible.Smith’s Plumbing Services proudly provides high-quality water heater solutions to customers throughout Memphis and the surrounding areas. Schedule your appointment today by calling (901) 290-1110.