Tips for Maintenance of Water Heater Tank

San Rafael

(415) 942-6565

Santa Rosa

(707) 452-3464

A water heater is a necessity for every home, and it is vital to maintain your water heater so that it is in good operating order and you have a steady supply of hot water in your home. In order to accomplish tasks such as dish and clothes washing and to have comfortable baths and showers, a functioning water heater is crucial. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of routine maintenance on your water heater system, steps to take when performing maintenance on your unit, and when the time for repair or replacement may be.

Benefits of Water Heater Maintenance

When you maintain your water heater, you can reduce heat loss and improve the energy efficiency of your tank, lowering energy costs. Caring for your water heater unit regularly can also extend the lifespan of the system and ensure that it is operating at the highest level possible. It will also lessen any possible safety dangers by keeping ahead of any gas or electric heater issues. You will be able to catch small problems before they escalate and turn into costly ones that can damage your unit and your home. You can overall have better, healthier-quality water being dispensed into your home if you keep up with making sure your unit is clean and working properly. Here are the best steps to take to maintain water heaters:

Water Heater Maintenance Steps

Safety Tips

It is important to have safety measures in place before you begin your hot water heater maintenance. You will be dealing with hot water, bacteria, gas or electricity, and possibly carbon monoxide if you have a gas water heater. If you are not comfortable working with any of these elements, then it may be a better idea to have a professional technician handle the tune-up.

The first thing to always do is turn off the gas supply for gas water heaters or the power for electric water heaters before you begin working. it is a good idea to have an automatic shut-off valve that can turn off the gas if there is an emergency. Carbon monoxide detectors in your house are also important so that you are alerted whenever there is a leak, since the poisonous gas is colorless and odorless.

Never touch hot water directly. Allow the tank and water to cool before you flush it out. Be sure to clear the surrounding area before working so that you have enough space to safely work and that there are no materials nearby that are flammable in case something goes wrong.

Tools to keep handy are a garden hose and bucket for when you flush the tank, a backup anode rod, and towels.

Test the temperature-pressure relief valve

The temperature-pressure relief valve, or TPR valve, is there to release water from the tank if the pressure inside gets too high. The valve is essential in keeping the tank from exploding in such extreme cases. Both a gas water heater and an electric water heater will have this valve.

First, turn off the cold-water supply valve, then place a bucket under the discharge pipe that is connected to the valve. Lift up the valve’s tab to let a bit of water run out, and then let go. Be sure not to touch the water or let it get on your skin. If the valve can’t be opened or the water keeps flowing after releasing the valve, the old valve will need to be replaced with a new TPR valve.

Check to make sure there are no leaks from other valves or pipes on the heater, and tighten them if you need to.

Check on the anode rod

The anode rod is what prevents rust from building up in your water tank. The corrosive elements instead gather on the sacrificial anode rod to prevent corrosion in the lining of the tank. This means the rod will naturally corrode over time, and once it does, the tank will begin to corrode, so it is vital to replace the rod once it is corroded.

Shut off the water supply and fuel source before placing a bucket under the drain valve and letting around 5–10 gallons drain out. Locate the anode rod and pull it out with a socket wrench.

Inspect the rod for signs of corrosion. If it appears heavily corroded, replace it with a new anode rod that you should have on hand. If not, you can screw it back in. Replace all the covers and insulation once the rod is back in.

Drain the tank

Sediment build up can clog water lines, reduce your water heater’s efficiency, and produce bacteria in the water that will be unhealthy for you as you use the water. Flushing the tank regularly can drain out this sediment build up so that it does not harm your tank or water.

After turning off the cold water supply valve, take a garden hose and attach it to the drain valve. The draining end can be placed in the yard or in a place that can tolerate the hot water. Drain the tank completely, or watch until the water draining is clear before closing off the valve. Make sure the valve is closed all the way before turning the cold water supply back on and filling up the tank again.

Adjust the temperature

Lowering the temperature setting on your hot water heater can save you a lot in energy costs. It is a good idea to double-check the temperature setting on the thermostat whenever you perform your maintenance checks, and if possible, turn it down as much as you can. This will relieve the strain on your water heater. There are some water heaters you can even set to vacation mode if you will be gone for a while and not using the water heater.

This is also a good troubleshooting step whenever something is going wrong with your water heater. It is possible that you may have to adjust the temperature up or down if you are getting water that is too cold or too hot.

Insulate pipes and water heater unit

It is beneficial to install insulation around the hot and cold water pipes and the water heater itself. Insulation can greatly conserve the heat and energy of your water heater, since it will not have to work as hard to produce heat if it is conserved. If your system is in an especially cold or drafty area of the house, insulation is especially important because it can conserve a lot of heat that you are probably losing due to the placement of the unit.

A water heater blanket can be purchased at a hardware store and then cut to the correct measurement to line up with your pipes and unit. Wrap the strips of blanket around the water heater, but leave the drain valve and pressure relief valve out. Secure with duct tape or the tape provided with the insulation, then do the same for the pipes.

Check the ventilation

For a gas water heater, be sure to check that the venting system is clear. There should be a good amount of room around the vent pipe, and the vent connector should be correctly sealed.

After you have completed all your maintenance steps, remember to turn the power or gas back on to the water heater. Wait until the water heater tank is all the way filled again before turning on the power, especially for electric water heaters, since having the power on before it is full can burn out the heating element.

Maintenance for Tankless Water Heater

But how does maintenance on a water heater without a tank work? You will still need to flush a tankless water heater out, though it will require different tools. There is specialized equipment involved when you flush out a tankless unit, and it is usually a better idea to contact a plumbing specialist to do this for you.

Time for Water Heater Repair or Replacement?

Though many water heater problems can be troubleshooted using the above-described water heater maintenance tips, there are some cases where professional repair may be required. Depending on the age and state of your water heater, it may even be safer or more economically reasonable to replace it.

Leaks can be a certain sign that there is a problem. Sometimes you can simply tighten one of the valves if that is where the leak is coming from, but there are cases when valves will need to be replaced. if the tank itself is leaking, it is definitely time to call for a professional inspection.

An overheating tank could be a sign that there is a ventilation or insulation problem or sediment buildup you should flush out. A water heater tank should never be burning hot to the touch, so if it is, flush out the tank and then call a plumber if the issue continues.

Strange noises coming from the hot water heater, including clanking, popping, or other loud noises, can be a sign that there is a serious problem and should be investigated immediately. It is possible that this is sediment build up as well, which you can flush out.

Hot water inconsistencies can possibly be fixed by adjusting the thermostat or flushing out the sediment from the tank, but there are some cases when they persist and indicate a larger issue. it is a good idea to check to make sure if there are temperature problems from all of the taps in the house or just one.

Discolored or bad-tasting water can be a sign of corrosion or bacteria buildup in the tank. it can sometimes be helped by flushing out the tank, but if it is too corroded, it will probably need to be replaced.

A way to ensure you are getting the best water heater maintenance and repair is to contact the plumbing experts at John Owens Services. We can help you interpret an issue with your water heater if you are unsure about it or if you are uncomfortable handling the dangerous materials, such as reigniting the water heater’s pilot light or checking for loose connections. You can trust our plumbing specialists to safely handle every aspect of your water heater maintenance, as well as find the most efficient water heater repair for anything that needs to be fixed. It is recommended that you have professional plumbers perform general inspections on water heaters every once in a while, even if you are performing DIY maintenance.

Regular inspections are one of the best ways to maintain your water heater for years to come. We recommend flushing the tank, checking to see if you need a new valve or anode rod, and double-checking the water temperature setting at least once a year. Even a regular visual inspection to make sure nothing is visibly wrong is important, and as we’ve seen, if you simply flush your tank out regularly, it can help you avoid a mountain of problems. With regular maintenance, you can reduce energy loss, remove sediment, and make sure the pressure is kept in check for your safety.

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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464



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San Rafael
(415) 942-6565
Santa Rosa
(707) 452-3464