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You don't have to go through hassles or spend so much to increase your water heater's lifespan and operating efficiency. There are many easy and affordable water heater maintenance methods you can use. In most cases, you only need to set the temperature and add insulation once while checking the anode rod and flushing the tank annually.

You will enjoy several benefits if you take care of your hot water heater. For example, by adding insulation, you can reduce heat loss by around 45% and save up to 10% of your heating cost. Also, flushing out sediment from the tank is a great way to extend the lifespan and efficiency of the heating system.

There's more, but the important thing is knowing how you can properly maintain your water heater. In this article, you'll find some valuable tips to help you maintain your water heater.

Steps to Maintain Hot Water Heaters

Here's an overview of some steps to follow:

Inspect regularly

One of the most important things to do to your hot water heater is to perform regular inspections to examine every component of the heater. This is also a great way to quickly identify potential issues early, which can become very difficult to repair if unattended to. You can work with a schedule when inspecting your water heaters, but you should check that everything is functioning efficiently.

Test the TPR value

One of the first things to do is to check and test the TPR value, and to do this, and you'll need to shut off the cold-water supply valve and power. After that, you can place a bucket under the pipe attached to the temperature-pressure release valve.

Lift the valve so some water can come out, and check whether the water continues flowing. In this case, allow the tank to drain because you'll need to replace the pipe wrench and old valve with a new one.

Testing the TPR valve is a great way to ensure the water heater operates correctly. The valve is designed to help release pressure that builds up in the heater, and you can test this by following the processes above.

Check the anode rod

Another maintenance tip is to check the anode rod regularly. For this, you'll need to place a hose in the drain cock of your tank and allow some water out. After that, place a little portion of the cock until the hex head rods on the heater, and unscrew the rod.

You should get a replacement if it's less than an inch coated with calcium or thick. You can use Teflon tape to wrap its head before placing it back into the tank. Also, ensure that you tighten it securely. The anode rod is one of the most critical parts of your water heater, which is why you need to replace it regularly.

The anode rod can attract different corrosive minerals in water, which can cause the rod to corrode. Ultimately, a corroded rod will only wreak havoc on the interior surfaces of your tank. With that said, it's vital to ensure that your anode rod functions appropriately to preserve your water heater and ensure its optimum performance.

Wash out sediments

One of the major problems that cause damage to most heating systems is the presence of sediments. To avoid this problem, you'll need to drain out sediments regularly. Start by draining the water in the tank before stirring the sediment at the bottom.

You can open the supply valve for cold water to stir up the sediment. Repeat the process until you observe clear water coming out through the hose. Close the drain and fill it up before you turn the heater back on.

Temperature adjustment

Temperature adjustment is also vital for maintaining your hot water heater. Check the side of the tank and unscrew the cover of the temperature dial to adjust it to 120 degrees. It would be best if you used a flathead screwdriver to achieve this.

The critical thing to note is that every 10 degrees reduction in the temperature lowers your energy costs by up to 5%. Another thing to ensure is that you turn off the thermostat to the lowest setting whenever you are away from your house for up to three days.

Insulate the pipes

Pipe insulation is also critical for maintaining your water heater. You'll need to get a self-sticking foam pipe insulation that perfectly matches the diameter of your pipe. Place the foam over cold and hot water pipes and allow it to go as far as possible. Insulating your cold-water pipe is a great way to avoid condensation during the summer months.

Insulating your pipes offers many benefits to the water heater and your tank. It also helps preserve the pipes connecting the water heater to the pipe. This is an important thing to do, especially in the winter when the temperature is very cold. Insulating your pipes can prevent water from freezing, leading to burst pipes.

Insulate the heater

Apart from the pipes, you also need to insulate the heater itself. You can do this by cutting the insulating blanket around the TPR valve, the pipes, and the temperature controls.

Use foil tapes to wrap the side of the tank but ensure you don't cover the tops of gas or oil heaters. The main benefit of insulating the water heater is that it will help you to reduce your energy bills. This will also extend the lifespan of the water heater significantly.

An insulated water tank will be more effective at ensuring that heat doesn't escape uncontrollably, and this is important because your water heater will not require much energy to heat water. It will also help in reducing the strain on your water heater.

How to Know Your Water Heater Needs Repair

In addition to the maintenance tips above, it's also essential to determine whether your water heater needs repair. There are a few signs to look out for, and they include the following:

  • One of the first signs to look out for is leaks from the water heater. This usually occurs due to old age, sediment build-up, faulty pressure relief valves, and lack of maintenance. 
  • Hot water inconsistencies are also a factor to look out for, as it could mean the water heater is malfunctioning. 
  • Discolored hot water from your water heater indicates that your hot water needs repair. 
  • Weird noises, foul smells, or bad-tasting water suggest that the water heater is malfunctioning, and you'll need to repair it quickly. 
  • Even though the water heater produces hot water, the tank should never be hot to touch. If the tank is hot to the touch, it's not adequately insulated, and you will need to get a replacement.

Why Inspect Your Hot Water Heater?

Choosing a professional hot water heater inspection is essential to ensure your water heater's safety, efficiency, and longevity. Skilled inspectors have the knowledge and expertise to thoroughly examine your hot water heater, identifying potential issues or hazards. They can check for leaks, sediment build-up, faulty valves, and other common problems that can affect the performance of your water heater.

By opting for a professional inspection, you can be stress-free, knowing that your hot water heater is functioning optimally and that any necessary repairs or maintenance can be addressed promptly, preventing costly breakdowns and potential damage.

Get Professional Water Heater Maintenance

The tips mentioned above are sufficient to preserve your water heater and ensure it performs effectively. However, it's also highly recommended that you hire a professional to help you perform inspections for your hot water system.

This is because they are well-experienced and knowledgeable and know the key things to look out for when performing the inspection. The need to effectively maintain your water heater should be emphasized, especially if you want it to last long.

However, it's also important to understand that there are different types of heaters, and with that, you'll need to understand the specific needs of your heater. Professionals are well-versed and can perform inspections on different kinds of heaters.

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