Our water heaters provide us with hot showers, hygienic dishes, and clean clothes and are generally low maintenance. Your tank water heater will perform for 8-10 years, while your tankless water heater could last even longer. But providing your unit with an annual tune up and some occasional TLC will help you see even greater efficiency and performance from your hot water heater.
Annual water heater servicing can preserve your water heater and extend its life and efficiency.
For Tank Water Heaters
For a tank water heater, you want to flush sediment buildup from the tank at least once a year. Sediment in your tank can affect hot water quality while also reducing efficiency. The sediment layer interferes with the heater’s ability to warm the water, requiring more fuel to achieve the same heat increase.
To clear sediment from a hot water tank, turn off the cold water supply to allow sediment to settle and then open the drain valve, collecting water into a bucket underneath. Keep the drain valve open until the water runs clear. If your water remains cloudy or you notice a strange smell coming from your water heater, talk to your plumber about professional maintenance.
For Tankless Water Heaters
For tankless water heaters, there’s no tank and so no opportunity for sediment to build up. However, because the water is heated through a series of pipes in the tankless unit, limescale can build on the pipes and element. This can, once again, reduce heater efficiency and drive up running costs.
Flushing the tankless water heater with a gentle acidic solution such as food grade white vinegar helps to loosen and dislodge the calcium and debris deposits in the unit. You can connect your vinegar solution to the tankless unit’s input valves according to the manufacturer’s instructions. These water heaters can differ slightly between make and model, so if you’re unsure, call a licensed plumber to perform a professional descale to keep your tankless unit efficient.
Change the Anode Rod
The anode rod in tank water heaters is called ‘sacrificial’ because it’s designed to corrode so your tank doesn’t. You should check the state of your anode rod on an annual basis to ensure that it is always intact. This is easily done by loosening the hex head screw and removing it. The anode rod should be changed if more than 6 inches of the core steel is visible, the rod is less than 1/2 inch thick, or the rod is coated with limescale buildup. A rotten egg smell from your water heater tank could also be due to the composition of your anode rod. Talk to your local plumber if you notice strange smells coming from your hot water tank.
Give Your Water Heater Space
Your water heater needs adequate room and ventilation to work efficiently. Additional important factors are proper positioning and secure connections. For gas water heaters specifically, proper vent placement is particularly important because the vent allows for the release of the water heater’s gases, including potentially dangerous carbon monoxide. Because it can be difficult to get all of these things correct in a DIY installation, it’s best to call a professional plumber to install your water heater
When you keep your hot water heater maintained it will reward you with greater efficiency, better function, and lower operating costs. Regular water heater maintenance can even help you save money on water heater replacement costs over the long term. Contact Advanced Plumbing and Rooter Service today to find out how to best care for your unique water heater type.