Having a fully functional water heater is pretty much essential in our day-to-day life – especially during those cold winter months. Yet, even the best water heaters still go through standard wear and tear over the course of their shelf life. Water heater maintenance is actually more important than you might realize, as those minor issues can quickly lead to excessive bills and unwanted headaches.
Luckily there are a number of simple water heater maintenance tricks you can do yourself. If the water heater has more serious problems—you want to call a professional. Here’s our take on a few of the best water heater maintenance tips that should not only help to extend the life expectancy of your water heater, but also keep your wallet high and dry.
Water Heater Maintenance Tips
Know Your Water Heater
First and foremost, you’re going to want to identify what type of water heater you own. There are a few different variations and models such as a conventional storage tank water heater, heat pump water heater or even a solar powered water heater to name a few. Follow up by checking the warranty information on your specific model (there should be a sticker on the water heater tank). Manufacturers set these warranties with life expectancy in mind, so if your water heater is nearing or even surpassed the warranty date be sure to keep a close eye on any signs of defect or malfunction.
Some water heaters require the professional assistance of a plumber or water heater expert to properly gauge the age and gallon capacity of the tank. Should you need any expert assistance, the team at Hulsey is here to help with all your water heater maintenance questions.
Keep the Pressure Down
Pressure tends to naturally build up in water heaters over time, but if you’re not careful this pressure could ultimately cause the water heater to burst. To combat this, water heaters are installed with a safety valve that works to release this pressure when there is too much built up.
A good water heater maintenance tip to keep in mind is to regularly test your pressure relief valve by temporarily shutting off the cold-water supply and power valve. When performing this task, begin by placing a bucket or container under the pressure relief valve. Once the valve has been lifted water should be released before eventually coming to a complete stop. However, if water continues to flow, the tank will need to be partially drained and the old valve should be replaced with a new one.
Maintain a Lower Temperature
There’s nothing better than jumping in a hot shower on a cold wintry day, but did you know that dialing back the temperature on your water heater ever so slightly can actually make a significant difference on the overall maintenance of your water heater? Here’s a few examples of the benefits of a slightly cooler temperature:
- Home energy costs are slashed
- Scalding risks (especially with children) are greatly reduced
- Cooler temperature extends the longevity of your water heater
Ideally, it’s best to keep the water heater temperature around 122 degrees, as that should be hot enough to kill off most viruses that might live in the water. If you have a gas tank water heater, simply reduce the temperature by rotating the dial. For those with an electric water heater, it’s a bit more complicated.
To start, you’ll want to shut off the power to the water heater. There should be a small access panel that covers the thermostat which you should gently remove. In some cases, there will be both an upper and lower thermostat present. A flathead screwdriver may be needed to adjust the temperature, but be sure to have both the upper and lower thermostats on the same setting.
In the words of our dear friend Matthew McConaughey, “Do you keep the temperature of your water heater on a lower setting? No. Be a lot cooler if you did.”
Looking for More Water Heater Maintenance Tips?
Tips and suggestions can only go so far and while we’re always happy to provide you with expert recommendations, sometimes you have to call in the professionals. Hulsey’s dedicated team of highly trained experts can help solve any water heater maintenance problems you might be having. We take pride in providing our clients with the best resources and skilled group of professionals who are ready to tackle any project.
Contact the team at Hulsey today and learn how you could be saving even more on your home energy bill.