Water Heater – How to Maintain It?
There are various easy & inexpensive ways to increase the water heater operating efficiency & longevity. Some tips, like insulation adding & setting the temperature, have to be done only once. Others, such as flushing the tank & checking the anode rod, should be done annually.
These recommendations should ALWAYS be performed by an experienced licensed plumber. Call us today and we can help.
The benefits of caring for your water heater are apparent. Adding insulation reduces heat loss by up to 45 percent & can shave as much as 9 percent off water-heating costs.
Flushing sediment from the tank improves efficiency & longevity. And making sure a viable anode rod hangs inside the tank surely helps counter its inside from rusting out.
Note – A used-up rod is far cheaper to replace than a new heater.
Pictured: The rusty wire in the pic is all that remains of what was once a ¾-inch anode rod built of aluminum or maybe magnesium. Without this anode rod, hot water rapidly corrodes the interior of the tank & hence results in shortening its life.
Use these 6 easy & inexpensive ways to increase your water heater’s efficiency & longevity & to make your hot water less expensive.
STEP 1 // How to Maintain A Hot Water Heater
Test the TPR Valve
Don’t forget to shut off the power & the cold-water supply valve after every use. Put a bucket under the pipe attached to the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve on the top or side of the tank of your water heater. (This valve opens whenever the tank pressure gets too high.)
Lift the valve’s tab to let some water run out & then let go. If water continues running, drain the tank partway & then unscrew the old valve with a pipe wrench, & install a new one.
STEP 2 // How to Maintain A Water Heater
Check the Anode Rod
Put a hose to the tank’s drain cock & let a few gallons of water run out. Now fix a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the rod’s hex head on top of the heater (or under its top plate) & unscrew the rod. If it’s less than ½ inch thick or coated with calcium, purchase a new one, wrap its threads with Teflon tape, put it back in the tank, & tighten securely. Utilize this segmented rod if the headroom above the tank is limited.
STEP 3 // How to Maintain A Water Heater
Drain the Hot Water Tank and Wash Out Sediment
Drain the left water in the tank into the bucket, then stir up the trash left on the tank’s bottom by briefly opening the cold-water supply valve. Drain & repeat until clear crystal water comes out of the hose. Then close the drain cock, refill the tank, & turn its power back on.
STEP 4 // How to Maintain A Water Heater
Adjust the Hot Water Heater Temperature
Find the temperature dial on the side of the tank & unscrew its cover. Tune the dial to 120 degrees utilizing a flathead screwdriver. For every 10 degrees, the temperature reduces, you can expect to save up to 5 percent in energy costs. Then turn the water heater off or the thermostat down to its lowest setting available if you plan to be away from home for more than 3 days.
STEP 5 // How to Maintain A Water Heater
Insulate the Water Heater Pipes
Purchase some self-sticking 3/8-inch-thick foam pipe insulation that equals the pipes’ diameter. Slide the foam over the hot- & cold-water pipes as far as you can reach. Insulating the cold-water pipe blocks condensation in summer.
Strip the tape & squeeze the insulation closed. If the pipe is 6 inches or less from the flue then cover it with 1-inch-thick unfaced fiberglass pipe wrap.
STEP 6 // How to Maintain A Water Heater
Insulate the Heater
Chop the insulating blanket to fit throughout pipes, the TPR valve, & the temperature control sticking out of the tank. Then wrap the side of the tank, & seal cuts with foil tape. Do not cover the heads of oil or gas heaters. Cap the electric heater with an oversized circle of insulation & tape its edge very precisely & securely to the side of the tank.