Fall is the best season to prepare with these water heater maintenance tips. One crucial home maintenance task is making sure your water heater works flawlessly — because winter is approaching, and no one wants to wake up to cold showers!
Winter puts more strain on this essential appliance, so it’s smart to do some maintenance in the fall. Neglecting water heater maintenance can lead to inefficiency and potential breakdowns.
In this guide, we’ll explore eight crucial tips to help you ensure your water heater operates smoothly during the fall months.
From flushing the tank to checking for leaks, these simple yet effective maintenance practices will help you enjoy a reliable supply of hot water as the seasons shift.
How To Prepare Your Water Heater For The Winter
As the leaves change and temperatures cool down, it’s essential to prepare your home for the upcoming fall season, and that includes giving your water heater some much-needed attention.
These eight easy steps will keep your water heater in great shape, making it last longer, work better, and save you money on your water bills.
Let’s get right into the essential actions you should take to ensure you have a warm and cozy winter without any hot water hiccups:
1. Prepare the water heater tank
First, shut off the gas or electricity, depending on your water heater’s power source. Then, close the water inlet and let the water cool down.
Finally, open one hot water faucet in your home to a slow drizzle to relieve pressure inside the water heater.
2. Test the Temperature & Pressure Release Valve (TPR)
Regularly testing the Temperature and Pressure Release (TPR) Valve is crucial, as it prevents water heater explosions by stabilizing pressure. To check it, you must first open the valve using the manual lever.
Observe water flowing through the discharge pipe. Close the valve by flipping the lever. If water flows out, the TPR valve is functioning correctly. No or minimal water indicates a problem; replace the valve to prevent pressure buildup.
Be cautious, as the water is hot. The TPR valve is typically located on the side or top of the water heater tank and should release water when lifted.
3. Check the thermostat and adjust the temperature.
Your water heater’s thermostat displays the water’s temperature as it enters your home. The recommended setting is 120°F, balancing safety (preventing scalding) and energy efficiency.
Raising the temperature slightly can provide hotter water for bacteria control but will also raise energy expenses.
4. Drain the tank and remove sediment.
To maintain your water heater’s efficiency, it’s crucial to periodically flush out sediment and mineral deposits from the tank by draining it and refilling it with fresh water.
Over time, sediment accumulates at the tank’s bottom, hindering its performance. You can either connect a hose to the drain valve after turning off the power and water supply or use a bucket for the draining process.
5. Inspect your Anode Rod
Typically, the anode rod becomes fully corroded approximately every five years, so it’s essential to check if replacement is needed.
As part of your fall water heater maintenance every three years, loosen the hex head screw from the top of the tank and remove the anode rod.
Replace it if you find calcium buildup, if it’s less than half an inch thick, or if more than six inches of the core steel wire is exposed.
6. Drain A Few Gallons From The Tank
By flushing out sediment buildup, you enhance efficiency, extend the equipment’s lifespan, and ward off corrosion. No need to drain the entire tank; a few gallons should suffice. Ensure the water runs clear before considering the task finished.
7. Restart The Water Heater
Close the drain valve and then turn on the water supply. Turn on the gas or electricity to restore power, and if necessary, relight the pilot.
8. Add insulation to your tank and pipes
If the outside of the tank feels warm, think about using a special jacket to insulate your water heater.
To increase efficiency, cover the thermostat and the top of gas or oil-powered heaters with a foil-insulating blanket and insulate any exposed pipes and valves. Gaps should be sealed with foil tape.
Reduced energy costs will result from this additional insulation’s ability to reduce heat loss.
Why should I hire a professional to maintain my water heater?
Maintaining your water heater during the fall is a simple yet essential practice to ensure optimal performance and an extended lifespan for your appliance. Regular maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs or premature replacements.
However, if you encounter any issues beyond your expertise, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Rescue Plumbers team for professional assistance.
We are available 24/7 ensuring your water heater is prepared safely and correctly is crucial for your comfort and peace of mind as the seasons change.