How To Take Care Of Your Water Heater

Posted: January 4, 2021

water heater repair maineWinter is here and the cold has set in. Is your water heater up for the task at hand? Here are five things to do to make sure the season is smooth sailing for your home’s water heater.

  1. Make sure you get your tune-up. In addition to regularly having your furnace or boiler tuned up, you should schedule a maintenance tune-up for your water heater every other year. When they come out to tune up your water heater, the technicians at Murray-Heutz can give it a thorough check and fix any issues they see before they become serious problems. They can also let you know if your water heater is due for an upgrade.
  2. Flush your tank. One major reason water heaters can experience failure is sediment collecting at the bottom. This causes corrosion and makes it harder for the system to heat your water. When this happens, you’ll see lower efficiency, as your energy costs creep up. Here’s how to flush your tank:
    1. Attach a hose to the drain valve. You’ll find the drain valve near the bottom of the tank. Put the other end of the hose in a floor drain. You can also put it outside—it just needs to be someplace where the water will definitely drain.
    2. Turn off the water supply to your tank.
    3. Turn off the power to the water heater. If you use a propane water heater, set the thermostat to “pilot.”
    4. Open up your drain valve.
    5. Once the tank empties, turn on the water supply—briefly. This will stir up the sediment from the bottom of the tank and then it will drain.
    6. Repeat the steps above until you see the water running clear. Then close the drain valve. Turn the water heater back to its normal settings.
  3. Check the temperature. Your water heater is probably preset to 140°, but that’s actually hotter than anything you would need and it can be dangerous—especially for infants and elderly individuals, as they are most vulnerable to scalding. Lower the temperature to 120°F, which is safer, and still hot enough for your needs. This will also help you cut back on your water heating costs by up to 10%!
  4. Insulate your tank. Putting an insulating blanket on your water heater tank—and around the pipes—will reduce heat loss. This means your water heater can run less frequently in order to keep your water hot, resulting in energy savings for you and less wear and tear on the water heater itself. Check with your manufacturer to get the details about the correct insulating blanket for your model water heater.
  5. Check your water heater storage tank’s anode rod. Sometimes called the “sacrificial rod,” the anode rod is an important component to this system. It protects the tank from corrosion by drawing the corrosion process to itself instead. With regular use, an anode rod will last about five years.

    If you use a water softener, it will have a shorter lifespan. A depleted anode rod leads to a tank that could corrode much more easily, leading to a tank failure. With that in mind, stay aware of how your anode rod is faring. It is much easier—and cheaper—to replace this than to replace the entire tank! See your tank’s manual for details on how to check and change the anode rod.

Contact us about how we can help you get through the winter! Whether it’s troubleshooting an issue with your water heater, replacing or repairing your furnace or boiler or something else, we are here for you!