Hot Water Heater Maintenance
Your hot water heater... it's one of those appliances you don't think about often, so it's easy to neglect. But it's important to perform some simple routine maintenance in order to maximize the tank's lifespan (typically 10 - 15 years) and maintain its efficiency and safety.
Lower the Temperature Setting
Often, the default setting on a hot water heater is over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Most professional plumbers recommend a setting closer to 115 - 120 degrees. Lowering the temperature will help reduce the chances of your system overheating, as well as save you up to 5% on your energy bill.
Inspect the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (T&P valve)
The T&P valve is located on the top or side of your water heater. This valve opens automatically if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. You can inspect this valve in three easy steps: 1. Lift up on the T&P lever partway and let it snap back into place 2. The result should be a gurgling noise as the valve sends some water to the drain 3. If the T&P valve did nothing, call a professional for a replacement valve
Perform a Mini-Flush of Your Water Heater
After time, sediment builds up in your water heater tank. This sediment can both corrode your tank and reduce your water heater's efficiency. To prevent this, you need to flush your water heater (the frequency will depend on the hardness and acidity of your water). Follow these 5 steps to flush your water heater:
1. If you have an electric water heater, start by shutting off the power
2. Place a bucket under the drain valve
3. Carefully open your water heater's drain valve by turning it counter-clockwise (please be careful because the water will be scalding hot)
4. Empty 1 - 3 gallons (until you no longer see any sediment coming out), then shut off the valve by turning it clockwise
5. Remember to turn the power back on if you started by turning it off
Just a few minutes of basic maintenance of your hot water heater will pay off in the long run by keeping it working properly and efficiently.