It’s easy to just have a water heater installed and forget about it. Heaters can carry on working for years without breaking down; but this does not mean they are working as effectively as possible. It’s important to keep a check on the water heater in your home, from an energy saving and safety point of view. It’s also worth remembering that a water heater which is well maintained should have a longer life span.
Of course, it’s possible to leave all water heater maintenance to professionals such as Plumbing Detectives . But, if you spend just a few minutes each year carrying out certain tasks you can make a big difference yourself.
It’s important that the pressure relief valve on a water tank is in good working order as this is where any excess pressure is released, preventing the tank from potentially exploding. You should find the valve located on the top of the heater, or on the side. All you need to do is lift the lever and see if any water is released. If this does not happen, the valve needs to be replaced.
It’s a good idea to drain the water heater when you are carrying out annual maintenance. This should clear sediment that is present and result in the heater operating more effectively.
Before you drain the heater, you need to turn off the power on an electric heater or switch the dial on a gas heater to the off position. You also need to shut off the cold water supply to the heater by closing the valve and turn on a hot water tap to relieve the pressure in the water heater.
It’s important to remember that the water in the tank will be boiling hot, so you should be careful throughout the process. You should need to drain between two and three gallons of water in order to get rid of the sediment; just keep check of when you can no longer see any sediment in the bucket you are emptying the water into.
When you have drained enough water you need to close the drain valve over again and release the shut off valve. Then it’s time to switch the electrical power back on or relight the gas supply. While you are doing this run one of the hot taps so that air is expelled from the heater.
Once you have taken just a few minutes to complete this maintenance, you should find that the water heater is working effectively. Make sure that the temperature dial is set to an optimum level; one that produces hot but not scalding water and is energy efficient.
A temperature of 120 degrees F is normally about right. If you have any doubts about the condition of the water heater when you are carrying out these tasks, it’s a good idea to seek advice from the professionals.