5 Tips For Maintaining Your Traditional Water Heater

You rely on your water heater to provide hot water every day. And let’s face it; we all tend to take our water heater for granted. When you turn on your shower, you just expect hot water to be there. 
Only when hot water is unavailable do we take the time to think about our water heaters. But by performing key maintenance tasks, you will not avoid costly repairs, but also ensure your water heater continues to run well for years to come. 

1. Lower the temperature setting on your water heater. 

If your water heater was installed with the default setting of 130 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, you may want to change it. Most professional plumbers recommend a temperature setting of about 115-120 degrees. By lowering this setting, you will reduce the chances of your water heater overheating and save up to 5% on your energy bills. 

2. Inspect the temperature and pressure relief valve (T&P valve). 

The T&P valve is the safety valve on your water heater. It protects your traditional water heater from exploding due to excess pressure. You can inspect the valve in three easy steps.
  • Lift up on the T&P lever partway and allow it to snap back into place. 
  • The result should be a gurgling noise as the valve sends some water to the drain.
  • If the T&P valve did nothing, contact a professional for a replacement valve.

3. Perform a mini-flush on your water heater. 

Sediment builds up in your water heater tank from regular use. Sediment corrodes your tank and decreases your water heater’s efficiency. By flushing your water heater, you can avoid these problems. 
Here’s a quick how-to guide for flushing your water heater.
  • If you have an electric water heater, shut off the power for safety reasons.
  • Place a bucket under the drain valve or connect a hose that runs to a safe place outside.
  • Carefully open your water heater’s drain valve by turning it counter-clockwise. 
  • WARNING: water will be scalding hot. Be extremely careful to avoid burns.
  • After you have emptied 1 to 2 gallons, shut the valve off by turning it clockwise.
  • Remember to turn the power back on if you previously turned it off.
WARNING: If your water heater has not been regularly maintained, the drain valve may be corroded and unable to operate properly. If you are unsure of the condition of your water heater or uncomfortable performing this procedure, you should contact a professional plumber.

4. Wrap your water heater tank in an insulating blanket. 

Reduce energy consumption and decrease the amount of standby heat loss by wrapping your water heater’s tank in an insulating blanket. This can also extend the life of your water heater by lowering the amount of time it is running due to heat loss.

5. Get an annual professional water heater inspection/tune-up. 

Your water heater needs regular maintenance from certified, trained professionals. They will inspect parts of your water heater that you do not safely have access to. 
For example, a professional plumber will: 
  • Inspect/Clean Burner assembly
  • Inspect/Repair Exhaust Flue (gas & oil models only)
  • Check for leaks/corrosion
  • Recommend replacement of anode rod on older models
A professional plumber will also be able to tell you when or if it is time to consider upgrading to a new water heater. It may make be cheaper in the long term to purchase a newer, more efficient tankless water heater than to continually pay high maintenance and energy costs on an old water heater. 
Schedule water heater maintenance with On Time Service Pros or contact us online for more information.

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