Water Heater Maintenance Tips: Ensuring Longevity and Efficiency

A water heater is an indispensable component of modern households, providing comfort and convenience in the form of hot showers, warm baths, and efficient cleaning. Yet, for an appliance we rely on so heavily, it’s surprising how easily we overlook its maintenance needs. Regular water heater maintenance not only ensures its proper functioning but can also extend its lifespan, improve energy efficiency, and help you avoid costly repairs or replacements down the line.

In this comprehensive guide, we will discuss key water heater maintenance tips and best practices that you can implement to keep your system running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. Our team of licensed and experienced professionals at Professor Plumb will provide insights based on their expertise in offering plumbing and gas services, new installations, and repairs. With over 20 years of experience, we have the knowledge and skillset required to provide guidance on all aspects of water heater maintenance, regardless of the type of water heater you own.

Throughout this article, we will focus on essential maintenance tasks, such as draining sediment from the tank, inspecting pressure-relief valves, checking for leaks, and adjusting the thermostat. In addition, you’ll learn about the benefits of professional inspections and tune-ups carried out by our team at Professor Plumb.

Draining Sediment from the Tank

One of the most critical water heater maintenance tasks is the removal of sediment that accumulates at the bottom of the tank over time. This buildup can cause your water heater to lose efficiency, make strange noises, and even shorten its lifespan. Therefore, draining the tank regularly is essential in maintaining optimal performance.

  1. Turn off the water heater and the water supply. If you have an electric water heater, switch it off at the breaker. If it’s gas-powered, switch the thermostat to the “pilot” position.
  2. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank. Make sure the other end of the hose is placed outside or in a bucket.
  3. Open the drain valve and allow the water to flow out until it becomes clear. Opening a hot water faucet in the house may help speed up this process.
  4. Close the drain valve, turn the water supply back on, and wait for the tank to refill. Finally, turn the power or gas supply back to the heater.

Experts recommend draining sediment from your tank at least once a year, but depending on your water usage and local water quality, it may be necessary to perform this task more frequently.

Inspecting Pressure-Relief Valves

The pressure-relief valve ensures your water heater doesn’t build up excessive pressure, which can be detrimental to the system and your home. To check the proper functioning of the pressure-relief valve, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power or gas supply to your water heater.
  2. Locate the pressure-relief valve, often found on the top or the side of the tank, near the top.
  3. Place a bucket under the valve’s discharge pipe or ensure a safe drain-source is available.
  4. Gently lift the valve’s lever to discharge a small amount of water. The water should flow freely, and the valve should automatically close when the lever is released.
  5. If the valve is leaking or not functioning correctly, it may need replacement. Contact a professional, like the experts at Professor Plumb, to assess the situation and recommend the appropriate course of action.

Checking for Leaks and Corrosion

Regularly inspecting your water heater for leaks and corrosion can help you identify potential problems before they become serious. Inspect the following components for signs of damage:

  1. Tank: Check for leaks, cracks, or rust on the tank’s exterior. If you find any signs of damage or corrosion, it may be time to replace your water heater.
  2. Pipes and Fittings: Look for any leaks or loose connections in the water supply and discharge lines.
  3. Thermostat: Examine the thermostat for corrosion or loose connections. If you find any issues, call a plumbing professional for repair or replacement.

Adjusting the Thermostat

Lowering the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat can help improve its efficiency, save energy, and lower your utility bills. The ideal temperature range for most water heaters is 120°F to 130°F.

  1. Turn off the power or gas supply to your water heater.
  2. Locate the thermostat, generally found behind an access panel on the side of the tank.
  3. Using a screwdriver, adjust the thermostat to the desired temperature.
  4. Close the access panel and turn the power or gas supply back on.

Invest in Professional Inspections and Tune-ups

While there are numerous water heater maintenance tasks you can perform yourself, it’s essential to invest in periodic professional inspections and tune-ups. A licensed and experienced plumbing professional can identify potential problems, ensure optimal performance, and prolong the lifespan of your water heater.

Safeguard Your Investment with Proper Maintenance

A well-maintained water heater is essential for a comfortable and efficient home. By following these expert water heater maintenance tips, you can protect your investment, improve the system’s performance, and extend its longevity. However, when it comes to professional inspections and tune-ups, trust the expert team at Professor Plumb to handle all your water heater maintenance needs.

Don’t wait until an emergency forces you to address your water heater’s maintenance needs. Be proactive in safeguarding your home’s comfort, and choose Professor Plumb for your professional plumbing services. Contact us today to schedule an inspection, tune-up, or water heater repair in Shelby County, AL. Let us help you keep your water heater functioning at its best.

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