A water heater is an appliance that most of us use every day and don’t give a second thought to—until it breaks down. You should expect your home to be all about comfort no matter the season so to avoid an unexpected cold shower or expensive repairs, it’s important to keep your water heater properly maintained. Here are a few tips to help you keep your water heater running efficiently for years to come.
Check the Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve Regularly
The temperature and pressure relief valve is a safety feature that helps release pressure if the temperature or pressure gets too high. It’s important to check this valve regularly to make sure it’s working properly.
Drain the Tank Regularly
One of the most important maintenance tasks for a water heater is to drain the tank on a regular basis. This helps remove sediment that can build up over time and cause the heater to work less efficiently. For best results, drain the tank once every six months.
If you have a gas water heater, be sure to turn off the power before draining the tank. Once you’ve turned off the power, open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and let the water flow out until it runs clear. Then, close the valve and turn the power back on.
If you have an electric water heater, simply turn off the breaker that powers the unit before draining the tank. As with a gas water heater, open the drain valve and let the water run until it’s clear. Close the valve when finished and turn the power back on at the breaker box.
Check The Anode Rod Regularly
The anode rod is a metal rod that’s located inside your water heater tank. Its job is to attract corrosion-causing particles so they don’t build up on other parts of the tank. Over time, though, the anode rod itself can become corroded. That’s why it’s important to check it regularly and replace it if necessary.
To check the anode rod, start by turning off your water heater (gas or electric) and shutting off the cold water supply to the unit. Then, open a hot water faucet in your home to release any pressure in the tank. Next, locate the anode rod—it will be either near the top of your tank or screwed into a fitting at the side of it. Unscrew it (or unscrew its cap) and pull it out so you can inspect it. If more than six inches of the rod is corroded away, it needs to be replaced.
If you need to replace your anode rod, you can buy one at most hardware stores or online retailers that sell plumbing supplies. Be sure to get one that’s made from aluminum or magnesium—zinc rods are no longer recommended for use in water heaters because they can actually accelerate corrosion in some cases. Once you have your new rod, screw it into place (or screw on its cap) and turn your water heater back on before opening up a cold water faucet in your home again to release any air pockets that may have formed inside your tank while you were replacing the anode rod.
By following these simple, Grandaire HVAC maintenance tips, you can keep your water heater running efficiently for years to come—and avoid any unpleasant surprises when you go to take a shower!