WATER HEATER CARE GUIDE
Hot water is one of the great modern conveniences. Is there anything better than a hot shower after a long day? The hot water seems to relieve stress, and many people stand in the shower for minutes.
Waiting all day for a hot shower, turning on the tap, getting into the shower, and having the hot water run out after only a few minutes is frustrating and disappointing. Most people dislike cold showers unless they're in the mood or it's 95° outside.
What gives? No hot showers for the rest of the day. Why is your hot water so short?
Your water heater may require maintenance. Like your car or air conditioner, your water heater needs regular maintenance. The maintenance schedule for water heaters varies yearly to three to five years. It depends on your water heater: electric, gas, or tankless.
It would help if your water heater were inspected regularly by a reputable company. Investing in your water heater will save you money in the long run. Poorly maintained water heaters die much faster than well-maintained water heaters. Here are some things to keep an eye on with a water heater.
ELECTRIC AND GAS WATER HEATER MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST
When you hire a professional to maintain your electric or gas water heater, ask them to check the following:
- TESTING THE PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE OF WATER HEATERS
Your water heater's pressure relief valve is on the top or side. Its principal function is to open and release water as the tank's pressure rises. Over-pressurized water heater tanks might explode.
The technician will first cut off the power and close the cold water supply valve. A bucket will then be placed beneath the pressure release valve. They'll check the valve by lifting the tab to see if any water comes out.
If it does, your tank is healthy. Replace the valve if no water comes out. Replacing the valve is also required when the technician lifts the tab and water comes out after the technician releases the tab. In both circumstances, the valve is old or broken.
If water continues to flow, the technician will drain the tank again and replace the old valve with a new one.
- CHECKING THE ANODE ROD
Even the purest water contains minerals and contaminants. This is especially true if you reside in a region with “hard water.” Hard water has more minerals than soft water. Hard water is safe for you but can harm your water heater.
Untreated water quickly corrodes your water heater. Every water heater needs something to stop this. The anode rod in an electric or gas water heater does this. The anode corrodes instead of the water heater.
How does a technician know when to replace an anode rod? They cut off the gas or electricity first, then the valve. They open a hot water tap anyplace in the house, releasing the tank's pressure. Then they drain the tank by opening the drain valve. If the water has rust flakes, you've waited too long and need a new water heater.
If the water is clear, the technician checks the anode rod. Some telltale signs it requires replacing:
- Calcium coats the anode rod.
- An anode rod has a core steel wire. If more than 6 inches of this wire is exposed, replace the rod.
- The anode rod thickness makes a huge difference. If the rod is less than half an inch long, it must be replaced.
Fortunately, anode rod replacement is cheap. The anode rod should be replaced every three to five years to extend the life of a water heater.
- DRAINING THE TANK AND FLUSHING THE SEDIMENT
The anode rod attracts corrosive materials, but not everything in the water. When your water heater refills itself, it adds sediment to the water supply.
You may not see sediment if you fill it once. But water heaters fill many times a year. This implies sediment keeps accumulating at the tank's bottom. Tank sediment is one of the main causes of short-lived hot water.
When removing sediment from a water tank, a technician will first turn off the power or gas and shut off the cold-water supply. A hot water tap someplace in the house. The technician will next open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and drain a few gallons at a time.
The technician will restart the cold-water supply to churn out any leftover silt. They will do this till the garden hose clears. The drain valve is closed. The tank is refilled, and power is restored. This is a yearly or bi-annual maintenance item.
- ADJUSTING THE WATER TEMPERATURE
Ask the technician to flip the tank to 120 degrees as they work. This temperature setting still provides hot, enjoyable showers, but by lowering it by 10 degrees, you can save up to 5% on your energy expenditure.
Ask the technician to demonstrate so you can do it yourself in the future. If you'll be gone for three days or more, turn down the water heater's thermostat or turn it off. If not, you're heating water for no one.
- INSULATING THE PIPES
Insulating hot and cold water pipes helps reduce heat loss and condensation in the summer. The tech will utilize 3/8-inch thick sticky foam pipe insulation. This will match the diameter of the pipes. To finish, they will slide the insulation over the pipes. The tech will remove the tape and install the insulation. It is possible to utilize unfaded fiberglass pipe wrap for pipe insulation near the flue.
- INSULATING THE WATER HEATER
Do I need to insulate my water heater? Insulating it keeps hot water hot in cold air.
To insulate a water heater, first, determine its age. Some newer water heaters already have it. Your water heater may need insulation if it is five to ten years old. Check if using insulation voids the warranty. The technician will use R-4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap. If the pressure release valve is on the side of the tank, they leave holes for pipes, panels, and the wrap.
Then it will be sealed. If it's an electric water heater, the technician may tape a huge piece of insulation to the top. Oil and gas water heaters are never covered.
Insulating your pipes and water heater will increase your tank's efficiency, allowing you to take longer showers.
You can also make your water heater more efficient. Clear the space surrounding your water heater tank. Unless otherwise specified in the user handbook, leave 2 feet around the tank.
SCHEDULE WATER HEATER TUNE-UP SERVICE WITH THE EXPERTS AT ORDER A PLUMBER INC.
Call the home comfort professionals at Order a Plumber Inc. to schedule routine maintenance or install conventional water heaters with a storage tank or a tankless model.
The best service at the best price. Schedule a service anytime. We can remind you to schedule regular maintenance and then follow up to check everything is working correctly.
You can reach us at (631) 234-0687 or use our contact form to tell us what services you need and when you would like to be contacted. Our team will respond within one business day or sooner.