Many people take a reliable, non-stop supply of hot water for granted until the water heater fails from a lack of preventive care. But you can avoid the potential discomfort & inconvenience of failure by calling our professionals to perform regular water heater maintenance.
Water heater maintenance is important. Period! You know that being without hot water isn’t fun, especially in the winter. A family can indeed heat their water when necessary the way they used to back in the day, but who wants to do that? A modern home needs a ready supply of hot water, and a water heater doesn’t burn a hole into your pockets, it’s easy to maintain, and has replaceable parts. A well-cared-for hot water tank should last at least ten years.
For most of us, our water heaters can be in an “out of sight, out of mind” condition. Mostly, they live in our garages and run according to our needs. It only receives our attention when it sends us cold water or when it begins leaking onto the floor. When you realize that you need an expensive repair or replacement, that will change your short-term financial outlook quickly.
This scenario is common, and the cause ranges from old age to lack of maintenance, or both. A water heater that dies prematurely suffers from its owner’s misunderstanding or complacency about the importance of preventative maintenance. But you can rest easy as Lone Star Water Services is here for you.
Signs Your Water Heater Isn’t Working Properly
If you think that a lack of hot water is the only sign of a failed water heater, you are not entirely correct. It’s the most prominent symptom, but if you notice a noticeable drop in hot water production or longer times before hot water reaches the faucet, the likely cause might require a professional from Lone Star Water Services to diagnose the reason.
Common signs your water heater needs repair:
- Lack of hot water: If you notice a dramatic dip in hot water production & your water takes a long time to heat up, you likely need to have your water heater serviced or replaced.
- Funny sounds: Sounds are yet another part of a faulty water heater. When you hear crackling sounds once it turns on, it’s just sediment being popped; it should be flushed out once a while. Listen to your water heater sometimes, and get to know the sounds it regularly makes. It’s when the sounds are far different from what you usually hear is when you should be concerned.
- Strange odors: There shouldn’t be any funny smells in your water. The sediment buildup can be contributing to smells coming from your water. It should be flushed out with regular maintenance.
- Leaking water: Definitely call us, if your water heater is leaking or gushing water. Don’t ignore leaks, if you see any, a slow drip can turn into an extensive repair at any time.
When we visit you for a maintenance check, we check:
- Heating element
- The system’s drain
- The shut-off valves
- Your anode rod
- The thermostat
- Safety valves and supply pipes
How to Care for a Hot Water Heater?
One of the most important things you can do to care for your water heater when it is new is to flush the tank every week or so for the first three months after the water heater installation. This way, the sediment is washed, and it is necessary to practice as the sediment clogs freshwater lines & shortens the life of the heater.
For gas or electric water heaters, turn off the electrical power to the heater or turn off the pilot light if it’s a gas water heater. Then, shut off the cold water to the heater & connect an old garden hose to the drain valve. Place the drain end of the hose in a bucket then open the pressure release valve and the drain valve simultaneously. Let the tank drain until it’s empty. Then, immediately close the valve, disconnect the hose & shut the pressure relief valve.
Go back into the house, and open up the hot water spigots and let cold water supply into the tank by turning on the inlet. When hot water starts to come out from the spigots, shut them down one by one. Turn the heater’s power on after that or relight the pilot light. Also, flush the tank every six months or so.
Here are some basic steps or some signs or tips for all homeowners to follow if they’re interested in getting the most from their home appliances, especially water heaters. And to answer the question inscribed in the title of the blog, YES. Water heater maintenance is necessary!
- Don’t Switch on the Power Before the Tank is Full
Switching on an electric water heater tank before it’s full is a huge mistake. It leads to the burning of the top of the heating element. When the electric heater is installed, open a hot water spigot, and let the water run for three minutes to make sure that the air in the tank is empty, and it’s topped up with water. If you’re still not getting enough heat after a couple of hours, check to see if the water heater is getting the right voltage. If it’s not, call one of our professionals at Lone Star Water Services.
- Replace or Have Regular Checks of The Anode Rod
The anode rod hangs inside the tank and prevents corrosion by drawing minerals to it. It should be checked for the first time about a year after installation and every three years after that. We check it by draining a couple of gallons of water from the heater then unscrewing the anode rod with a socket wrench. Pull it out, and if it looks very thin or is corroded, it’s time to buy a new one.
The primary purpose of your water heater’s sacrificial anode rod is to protect the metal tank from rusting out & failing prematurely. When performing a yearly tank flush, check the anode rod’s condition & replace it before it becomes severely corroded.
- Flush Out The Tank Annually
Calcium and other minerals present in the water form into solids at high temperatures. These sediment particles eventually accumulate at the bottom of the tank and form an insulating layer that inhibits heat transfer. Now, this sediment not only erodes energy efficiency but if it builds up in a large quantity, it can also reduce the tank capacity and eventually ruin the gas burner or electric heating element. Before following the manufacturer’s instructions on how to flush the tank, remember to turn off the circuit breaker or put the gas burner on the “pilot” setting.
- Test The Temperature and Pressure Valve
If the pressure relief valve is not functioning due to a mineral scale or corrosion buildup, it will not protect you from an explosion if the pressure inside the tank gets dangerously high. Test the temperature and pressure valve once a year by raising & lowering the handle a few times to check that water flows out the drain line. If your water heater is more than five years old and you’ve never actually used the valve, don’t risk testing it. Call our licensed professional to replace it, and then test it annually.
- Dial Back The Heater’s Thermostat to 120 degrees
Most thermostats in our water heaters are set at a manufacturer’s default of 140 degrees. But, get this, by reducing the temperature by 20 degrees; you can cut the appliance’s energy consumption by as much as 10 percent. The lower temperature setting also helps in slowing down the sediment formation.
Benefits of Regular Water Heater Maintenance
While some appliances in your home rarely require major repairs, all of them require preventative maintenance. An annual check-up takes into consideration a repair history of like models, and the inspection targets these areas first. And do not be mistaken, your water heater does need regular, preventative maintenance to uncover minor problems that you may miss.
Trust only a reputable company like ours to maintain your water heater and all other plumbing-related items. Lone Star Water Services specializes in all aspects of plumbing, and their professionals stand ready to serve you if you’re looking for reliable and robust service. Also, if you’re looking for a new unit, they will guide you every step of the way, and of course, install it for you.
Don’t Hesitate to Call Our Professionals
Don’t hesitate to call our professionals at Lone Star Water Services if you live in Austin, TX or the surrounding areas. If you are nervous about troubleshooting your water heater or if you want to give it a thorough, professional check-up or find something that you can’t fix, you can call us anytime.
At Lone Star Water Services, our inspection and plumbing services are completely accurate, so you can easily plan your next steps. One of our experts will inspect each part of your water heater and secure a long life for your unit.