Spring some love on your water heater this season
Due to increased usage during the winter months, you would be wise to schedule spring water heater maintenance. While a water heater is one of the most reliable and hard-working appliances in your home, a neglected system can fail, leaving you without hot water and facing costly repairs or replacement. And since other appliances in your home, like the dishwasher and washing machine, depend on hot water to function properly, your daily life could face a serious interruption should the water heater fail.
Most of your home appliances work harder during the winter months. During the holidays, many folks entertain with large family gatherings or endure lengthy visits from family members, which leads to increased showers and more dishes, both of which require plenty of hot water. Neglected or older water heaters can succumb to the additional strain and lose efficiency or fail completely.
Here’s What Needs to be Done:
Adjust the thermostat to 120 degrees. You’ll save up to 5% in energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature, plus you’ll reduce the risk of scalding.
Always maintain 2 feet of clearance around the appliance unless the manual specifically states otherwise.
Drain about a quarter of the tank to remove sediment and debris. Turn off the cold water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve, then run into a bucket until the water is clear. If the water remains cloudy, briefly open the water supply valve to stir up remaining sediment, and drain the tank again. This also makes the unit operate more quietly.
Examine the sacrificial anode rod by loosening the hex head screw and removing it. Replace the rod if:
- More than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed.
- The rod is less than 1/2 inch thick.
- The rod is coated with calcium.
- You can buy a 13-inch zinc-aluminum anode rod for about $16.
Insulate older units with a fiberglass jacket to improve efficiency, being careful to avoid contact with the flue (newer units already are insulated — check your owner’s manual to make sure). Also, insulate the hot and cold water pipes.
As always, your plumbing team at Mike Scott Plumbing is here for you. Schedule your water heater maintenance to make sure that you have an uninterrupted spring season.