How to Care for Your Water Heater
A gas or electric water heater is a large investment for most homeowners or families to make. Fortunately, most water heaters can last anywhere from 10 to 15 years or more, with proper maintenance. Doing your part to maintain your water heater now can save you a great deal of time, money, and frustration in the long run.
To properly care for your water heater, consider the following maintenance recommendations:
- Drain the tank annually - This will remove any sedimentary buildup, which can cause corrosion, shorten the life span, and affect the performance of your water heater. Drain several gallons of water from the faucet near the bottom of your water heater tank. It is usually easiest to connect a hose to the faucet to direct water into a drain nearby.
- Keep the temperature at 120 degrees, or on the medium setting for older models - This will help to ensure optimal energy usage and prevent the risk of scalding.
- Test the pressure relief valve annually - Simply lift the lever up and let it snap back into place. Water should enter the drainpipe, and if it does not, make sure to call a plumber so that they can install a new valve.
- Schedule an annual inspection with your local plumber - They can thoroughly inspect your water heater to help detect and prevent any problems.
- Consider investing in insulation - This will help to keep the water hot, thereby saving you money on your monthly energy bills. Many local home improvement and plumbing stores can provide affordable insulation to meet your needs. You can also simply wrap your water heater with a pre-cut blanket and install it yourself. If you feel comfortable doing this yourself, make sure to proceed with caution because water heaters are extremely hot and can result in scalding or other problems.
Your water heater is responsible for providing a constant supply of hot water to your home so it is important to keep it well maintained to ensure that it can work properly when you need it to most. Make sure to choose a quality water heater that can reliably meet your needs over time and have it installed by a skilled professional. Call your local plumber or your water heater manufacturer for more recommendations on ways you can help to preserve your water heater and extend its useful life.