Your water heater may be one of the most important parts of your home and one that you may not think of often. However, your water heater is a significant financial investment and an appliance you truly use every day, so you will want to take care of it and keep it running in tip-top condition. Here are a few steps you can take to maximize the performance of your water heater and extend its lifespan.
Drain and Flush the Water Heater
Sediment will inevitably build up within any hot water heater tank, and even inside tankless systems. The sediment can collect in the bottom of the tank, coating the interior of the tank, elements, pipes and the anode rod. Small chunks of sediment can also float in the water, creating a rumbling noise as the tank heats. The sediment build-up will eventually compromise the efficiency of your water heater. You can minimize these problems and extend the life of your water heater simply by routinely draining and flushing your water heater.
Add Insulation to Tank and Pipes
Your water heater can lose heat and energy through the pipes and sides of the tank. In order to prevent this from happening while increasing the efficiency of your hot water heater and extending its life, you should insulate both the pipes carrying the heated water and the tank itself. Pipe insulation, fiberglass insulation, or water heater blankets can be purchased at your local hardware store or ordered online. You will want to use specialized tape to keep the insulation in place when you apply it.
Check the Pressure Relief Valve
Tank water heaters have a valve that releases tank pressure. If that valve becomes stuck or blocked, the tank pressure could build and eventually damage the tank. You will want to check the valve regularly to ensure it is functioning properly. In order to check the valve, turn off the gas or electricity, then open and close the valve several times. If it is working properly, hot water should flow from the drainpipe when the valve is open. Once you are done, turn the power or gas back on (and re-light your pilot light if necessary).
Replace the Anode Rod
All tank water heaters are equipped with an anode rod, which is suspended inside the tank. The anode rod has a steel core and is coated with either magnesium or aluminum. It is meant to slow down the corrosion of the tank. Due to various chemical processes, the rod is supposed to corrode and rust before your tank does. You will want to replace the anode rod every 3 to 5 years. This will help protect your tank itself from corrosion and lengthen the life of your water heater.
Maintaining your water heater according to its specific needs may best be handled by a professional plumber. A plumber will know the specific adjustments, repairs, and equipment that would be appropriate for your particular water heater. They will also know precisely how to complete these replacements or modifications safely. Take the pressure off you and your family by scheduling regular maintenance on your water heater with Advanced Plumbing and Rooter. With regular maintenance, you get all the benefits of a functioning water heater, while protecting your water heater investment for years to come.