Hot water heater maintenance is something no one thinks about the until that one morning where you end up taking a cold shower when you expected a hot one. It’s always in the middle of winter too!
While calling for a repairman is an idea if you want to be reactive to the problem, you can be proactive with your water heater maintenance to prevent this from happening. It can help with energy efficiency, and most touch-ups are done annually.
Whether you have a busted pilot light and need to relight the pilot or have another problem. Here are some of the maintenance tips you can take to fix your water heater’s problems.
Maintaining your Gas Water Heater
If you have a gas water heater tank rather than an electric one, you can follow the most basic maintenance tip of all. Turn it off and then turn it back on again.
Turn off the power source to the heater’s gas supply on your thermostat, and then find the ‘off’ valve that lets you turn off the water. Twist that gas valve and the water should turn off. Electric water heaters use a circuit that operates the same way.
Draining the Water
You can drain the hot water from gas heaters as a third step, but that’s only if you see a leak or another problem that requires an empty heater to fix.
Flushing a Water Heater
In order to flush your water heater, you need to turn off the power source and the cold water supply before you drain the tank. Then connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and place the other end in a space where the water can discharge. This is the first step to flushing the tank.
Watch the water as it comes out of the valve and fills whatever you placed the other end of the hose in. A bucket works well for this purpose, and you should see cloudy cold water with perhaps even a bit of sand or other sediments inside of it. Keep emptying out the bucket, flush the heater, and refilling it until you don’t see any more debris coming out of the tank valve. Once you let the water flow, all you should see is your water heater’s clear water coming from the tank.
How to Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkbi24QJhDw
After the Draining
You have flushed your hot water to cleanliness and you can turn everything back on and clean up. Flushing a water heater is maintenance that you need to do every once in a while, to prevent a lowering of the lifespan of your electric water heater.
Maintaining the Pressure Relief Valve
Whenever water heats up, it can expand and cause pressure inside the water heater. Most water heaters are designed to take this sort of expansion, but if the thermostat for your water heater fails and the temperature pressure from the P valve isn’t regulated, then the pressure relief valve is what discharges all the extra steam and water.
That way, you can take a shower without the risk of scalding at 120 degrees temperature!
The pressure relief valve can take in dirt and sediment, which can compromise every water heater’s effectiveness if you don’t clean it by opening the drain valve and flushing out the sediment.
Keeping Your Water Heater Maintained
For most of these projects, you only have to focus on the water heater once a year, and simply flush out any debris. It just takes one day of work to prevent you from needing to pay for expensive anode rod repairs and also getting an unexpected cold shower!
Doing a little maintenance on water heaters sure seems worth it when that is the alternative.