Regular Maintenance Keeps Your Water Heater in Good Working Condition
It’s always hidden, so we rarely think about it… But when it malfunctions, everybody knows. There are several steps that homeowners can take to prolong the life of your water heater. They do not take long, but they can add years to the life of the heater, and that means more money in your pocket!
For each of these tips – your first step will be to shut off the water supply valve. Also, be careful when draining water, it will be hot! One way to do this is turn off your water heater first and let it cool down. If you are using gas make sure you switch to off. Remember you will have to relight the pilot light and turn back on when you are done.
- Test the Temperature Pressure Release (TPR) Valve – Place a bucket under the pipe that connects to the TPR. It could be on the top or side of the tank. Lift the tab to release some water and then let go. If the water continues to flow, you need to get a professional to replace the valve. Note: this is HOT water, don’t scald yourself. Sometimes simply clearing the release valve is enough if there is sediment in the pipe.
- Check/Replace the Anode – This is the piece of metal dangling in the heater that keeps the rest of the tank from rusting. The anode is usually made of aluminum and magnesium and costs about $30. To check it and replace, drain a small amount of water from the tank and then unscrew it from the top using a 1 1/16 inch socket ratchet. It is on the top of the water heater and shaped like a hexagon. Put Teflon tape on the top of the new rod and replace.
- Drain the Sediment from the tank – Drain the tank completely and then turn on the cold water supply briefly to flush out the sediment. Repeat until clean water comes out of the hose.
- Make a few adjustments to save on energy costs – You can lower the dial on the temperature gauge and insulate the pipes. Bonus tip: turn off the heater when you head out of town.
Prolong the Life of Your Water Heater