A water heater can run for years, quietly doing its job in your home, before it ever shows a sign that something’s wrong with it. Because of this, many homeowners are not aware that doing a small amount of water heater maintenance every year can extend the life of your water heater and lower utility bills all at once. In addition, checking one particular part can make sure that your water heater doesn’t explode. It’s not likely but all the same, it can happen.
The initial step in water heater maintenance is checking the temperature and pressure release valve. This is usually located along the upper quarter of the tank and has a simple valve switch on it. Place a bucket under the drain pipe and pull up on the release valve. Take care to stay away from the bucket; the water coming out of the heater will be scalding hot. This water should flow out into the bucket below. If no water runs into the bucket when you open the valve lever, you need to replace the valve. This is extremely important because this valve prevents deadly pressure build-up on the inside of the water heater if the thermostat fails.
To continue with water heater maintenance, shut off the cold water supply to the water heater and open the hot water tap nearest to you in the house. This will relieve any pressure inside the tank. Also turn off the electric heater or turn the gas control dial to off, depending on the style of your heater.
Now it’s time to drain the sediment from the bottom of the tank. If there isn’t a drain nearby, attach a garden hose to the drain spigot. Open the spigot and let water flow until it runs clear. Sediment is a natural part of the water heater process and isn’t necessarily a sign of failure. But, if you don’t remove it, it can build up on the heating element or the bottom of the tank, reduce heating efficiency and eventually hasten water tank failure.
If you would like more information about water heater maintenance, please contact us at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions. We provide quality HVAC and plumbing services to Orlando and Central Florida.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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