A water heater works tirelessly so you can enjoy a nice, warm bath every day. It also happens to be one of the more low-maintenance household appliances, which doesn’t exactly have a long checklist of maintenance items. Rather, a few essential steps of periodic routine maintenance can keep your water heater working optimally for its expected lifetime of 10-15 years, and perhaps more. Here are some steps of water heater maintenance in St. Peters MO that will keep your bath water comfortably warm for a long, long time to come!
Let’s start with the basics: It is advisable to maintain at least two feet of clearance around a water heater to make it easier to carry out maintenance checks. Ignore this if your water heater manual states otherwise. Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees for two benefits. For every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, you will be saving 5 per cent in energy costs. This will also prevent overheating, and avoid the risk of scalding water from the taps.
What to do every two months
Check the water heater for leaks. If you have a tank-type water heater, inspect the tank; for any other type of heater, see if the plumbing joints are leaking water. Also check the plumbing joints for excessive corrosion.
If you own a gas water heater, sniff out gas leaks and ensure that there is no inflammable material in the proximity of the combustion area. A visual inspection of the flex hose and couplings is also recommended, though we think a licensed HVAC technician is best qualified to correctly determine if the external parts of the heater are in fine working order.
For a tank-type water heater, check if the pressure and temperature relief valve is opening and closing freely. After testing, examine the valves for small leaks. You can ‘listen’ for crackling and hammering sounds – indicating possible problems in your water heater – by turning on the hot water tap closest to you.
What to do every six to twelve months
Flushing the water in your water heater serves an important purpose. It clears the sediment build-up in the tank, which helps in extending the life of the tank and the heating element. Make sure you drain a couple of gallons of water through the drain valve. This task involves a few steps, and as such, a water heater maintenance technician in St. Peters MO can carry it out perfectly, and keep your heater sediment-free.
If you are winterizing your home and shutting down your water heater, drain the tank completely to avoid the risk of flooding when you’re away. Of course, you will need to refill before turning the heater back on.
What to do every three years
The sacrificial anode rod in a typical water heater is made of aluminum or magnesium wrapped around a core steel wire, and its job is to prevent the hot water tank from rusting. Every three years, check the anode rod by loosening and removing the hex head screw. It is time to replace the rod if you spot the following:
The rod is less than 0.5 inches thick
Over 6 inches of the steel wire is exposed
There is calcium build-up on the rod
If you live in an area with corrosive (aggressive) water, examine the anode rod annually or semi-annually.
Own a gas water heater?
The pilot light of a gas water heater ignites the gas burner to heat water in the tank. The pilot light must burn cleanly and be adjusted correctly to keep the heater functioning optimally. Examine the color of the pilot light. It should be blue or blue-green with a tinge of yellow at the tip. A yellow flame, weak flame or a split flame indicates that the light may require repair or adjustment.
A water heater maintenance St. Peters MO technician will also check for damage or obstruction to the vent piping of your heater’s venting system. Corroded or damaged parts of the venting will need to be replaced, and the problem causing it must be determined and resolved.
Own an electric water heater?
A visual inspection of an electric heater’s heating element can alert you to issues in a timely manner, and prevent emergencies. Adding insulation can lower heat loss by up to 45 per cent, and cut heating costs by a good 10 per cent. Consider adding a fiberglass insulation blanket, and insulating the hot and cold water pipes.