Hot water heaters can work perfectly for ten years or more without any care, so they can be easy to neglect. But, a little bit of water heater maintenance on an annual basis can extend its lifespan. As water gets pumped into the tank, dirt and sediment can settle on the bottom. Depending on the quality of your water, these minerals can build up quickly and can affect your water heater’s efficiency. If it’s left unchecked, they can not only add more stress to your water heater but can also cause the tank to rust (which is expensive to repair). Fortunately, it can be avoided with a little bit of preventative maintenance.
Steps for Water Heater Maintenance
Before you start working on your water heater, there’s one thing you need to remember. You’re dealing with gas or electricity, along with very hot water and steam. So, you need to be careful. You also want to determine if your water heater is gas or electric, which is pretty simple. Look around the tank for any warnings or labels, but one good way to tell is if there’s a pilot light. Make sure you read the instructions on how to turn off the gas or electricity, but don’t try it unless you know what you’re doing. You also need to locate the water shut-off valve, pressure release valve, and water drain.
The pressure release valve is located on the top of the water heater, and there should be some labeling near it. Piping runs out of the water heater and into the wall, and it should continue to the other side (which is usually in the front yard or entryway). The water shut-off valve is also located at the top of the unit, and it looks like the circular valves that are often used in front and back yards. You can find the water drain at the bottom of the unit. It’s usually a spout that allows you to attach a hose. Before you can start any work on your water heater, you need to turn off its heating source. And you should wear gloves so your hands can be protected from hot water and steam.
After you have attached a hose to the water heater, turn on the water drain and open the pressure release valve. Water will drain from the hose and gradually stop. If the water is a little dirty at first, there’s no need to worry. It’s a result of dirt and sediment that has built up over time, which is why you’re draining it. It will take about 10-30 minutes for the water to drain. And once this step has been completed, turn the water on with the pressure valve and water drain still open so a few gallons of water can flow through the system. Make sure you catch the water with a bucket, and check it to see if it’s clear.
If it looks good, close the drain, turn on the water, and allow the tank to fill up. Once it’s full, turn the heating source back on. But, don’t do it until the tank is full. Otherwise, it can damage the unit. These are the simple steps on how you can keep you water heater maintained. If you have questions about any of them, be sure to reach out to someone at Royal Plumbing. We would be happy to speak with you!