Sure, we’re quickly headed into summer, so water heater maintenance might not be on the top of your mind. But just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean you still don’t need hot water without worry. Regularly maintaining your home’s water heater is the best way to make sure that those showers stay steamy all summer long. So, our friendly Santa Maria plumbers have come up with a list of spring water heater maintenance tips.
Drain and Flush the System
Have hard water? This tip is especially important. Sediment from minerals in hard water can accumulate in the bottom of your tank, causing your system to run less efficiently. Drain your tank by first turning off the power source to the water heater. Then, turn off the water heater’s cold-water supply valve, generally located at the top of your water heater. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the base of the tank and open all the hot water faucets in your home and let them run to assist in dispensing all of the hot water from the system. Finally, open the water heater drainage valve and completely empty the tank. When it’s empty, turn on the cold-water supply valve and allow it to run for 10 minutes to push clean water through the system and remove any lingering sediment.
Give Your Water Heater Some Space
Is your water heater buried under stacks of knickknacks and what-have-yous in your garage or basement? Give it some space so it can work unimpeded and you can access it when needed. Gas units need a good supply of oxygen, and efficiency will suffer if they’re packed into a tight space. You’ll be at a higher risk of a gas leak with too much stuff around it.
Check the Temperature
Some water heater manufacturers set the temperature to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which could cause damage and is hotter than most households really need. Elevated temperatures can cause scalding, mineral buildup and corrosion in the pipes. It’s recommended to set your water heater to 120 degrees, which will also help you save big on losses of standby and demand heat. However, if your water is taking too long to warm up, the temperature might be set too low. Bump it up a few degrees to see if that fixes the problem.
Keep it Warm with an Insulating Blanket
Wrap an insulated blanket around the tank of your water heater and any nearby exposed pipes to prevent heat from escaping the tank. The benefits of this are numerous. For one, you’ll increase the tank’s efficiency and thus lower your energy costs. Also, because the unit won’t have to run as hard, it should add years onto its shelf-life. Just be sure to check your water heater’s instruction manual before adding to make sure it’s safe for your specific unit.
Test the Pressure Relief Valve
A working pressure relief valve should release a burst of hot water into the drainpipe after you raise and then lower the test lever. Do this regularly to check the pressure and to clear out debris. If the valve is not letting out a big burst each time, call one of our Santa Maria plumbers to get a new one installed.
Water heaters are expensive and complex appliances that require consistent maintenance. For more helpful water heater maintenance tips, or assistance with repairing or replacing your water heater, call Griffin Plumbing at 805-934-1949 today!