Preventive Care for Your Water Heater

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Wake up once to a cold shower and you will know how important your water heater is. Though you might not pay much attention to your water heater, you depend on it every day for showers and baths, washing dishes, and laundry.

A good water heater should last you 8-12 years. However, water heaters can wear out faster if not maintained properly. It’s easy to neglect your water heater, sitting in a garage or utility room, until you encounter a problem.

That’s why it’s important to schedule reminders to check on your water heater and keep it maintained. If you take some simple steps to minimize wear and tear, these will help you avoid costly repairs and keep your water heater running smoothly.

1. Set the temperature properly. Maintaining a temperature of 120 degrees F is optimal. Consult your manufacturer’s instructions for how to select the appropriate setting when you are out of town for more than a day or two.

2. Be sure the water heater tank and pipes have proper insulation. It is a good idea to have this done upon installment. A water heater repair professional will know the safe and proper way to insulate. Then, you need to check the insulation periodically to be sure it hasn’t deteriorated.

3. Your water heater tank needs to be flushed at least once a year. Sediment can build up in your water heater tank, affecting the tank’s performance. A water heater repair professional can help you with this cleaning process. With your water heater tank cleaned, your whole family can look forward to those wonderful warm showers and baths.

4. Be sure the temperature and pressure relief (TPR) valve is working properly. The TPR valve is a safety feature on your water heater. It prevents a dangerous pressure build-up inside the tank. Build-up of sediment or rust can affect the functionality of this valve. It is a good idea to test it twice a year. A water heater repair professional can help you with this process and knows how to identify problems with the valve. Replacing a damaged valve is much less costly and much less dangerous than ignoring this problem.

5. Check your water heater tank periodically for leaks or signs of rust. A leak is an indicator that something is wrong. Even if it’s a small leak, the problem can quickly grow. A water heater repair professional can help you determine the cause of the leak or rusted spots, as well as what is needed to remedy the problem.

6. Be sure your anode rod is not corroded. The anode rod is what keeps the inside of your water heater tank from rusting out. The rod attracts contaminants so they don’t eat away at the tank. Often, the rod will wear out before the water heater does. Installing a new anode rod can improve your water heater function and efficiency. A water heater repair professional can help you check the old anode rod and safely install a new one.

7. Check your water heater location periodically to be sure the unit has adequate space around it. Water heaters need breathing room. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for how much space to leave around the unit. Also consult the recommendations regarding storage of toxic chemicals near the water heater.

Resist the temptation to store any items right next to your water heater tank. When you’re busy with life and short on storage space, it’s easy to toss boxes and bags in any empty corner. Schedule reminders to check and be sure your storage bins haven’t encroached on your water heater. Be sure the whole family knows the importance of keeping that space open.

With regular attention, your water heater can enjoy a long life and keep your family happy. Remember to schedule times to check on your water heater, and don’t ignore any problems you see. A water heater failure can cause significant damage. Catch problems before they grow, and you will enjoy a long-lasting water heater.