You rely on your water heater to provide you with hot water for showers, washing dishes, and other cleaning tasks. While all water heaters do need to be replaced eventually, you want yours to continue working for as long as possible. Preventative maintenance can help ensure that it does. As an added bonus, properly maintaining your water heater will allow it operate efficiently instead of wasting energy. So, what does preventative home maintenance for a water heater involve?
Flushing Out Sediment
This is the most important aspect of water heater maintenance. If you only have time for one maintenance task, this should be it. Over time, as water sits in the hot water tank, tiny bits of minerals and sediment settle out of the water and accumulate on the bottom of the tank. This sediment causes the water heater to lose efficiency. It can also contribute to corrosion of the tank itself.
Luckily, flushing the sediment out of your water heater is not difficult. Start by turning off the power supply — or in the case of a gas water heater, the gas supply. Then, connect a garden hose to the hose bib at the bottom of the tank. Turn on a hot water faucet somewhere in the home, as this breaks the vacuum and will allow water to flow through the tank. Then, turn on the hose bib. Let a few gallons of water flow out of the hose into a bucket.
You should see sediment in the water running out of the tank. When the water starts to run clear, turn off the hose bib. Turn off the hot water tap, and then reconnect the gas or power supply.
When you're maintaining your water heater, also try turning each of the valves. They should all turn easily. This ensures that you'll be able to turn off the water quickly if the tank springs a leak or you need to drain it for any reason. If any of the valves are slow or sticky, apply a little penetrating oil to the valve. Open and close it a few times to work the penetrating oil into the valve. It should now be easier to open and close.
Checking for Leaks
As you're lubricating valves and draining out sediment, also give the tank a once-over. Check for any signs of leaks, such as drops of moisture near a valve or spots of rust on the side of the tank. Leaky valves can be fixed by a professional. Spots of rust, on the other hand, mean you'll need to replace the tank soon.
Looking over and maintaining your water heater every 6 -12 months will help prevent long-term issues with inefficiency and leaks. If this maintenance seems like a lot to handle, contact Hassle Free Home Services. Water heater maintenance is a part of our seasonal and monthly preventative home maintenance plans, which we'd love to tell you more about.