Your hot water heater is one of the largest appliances in your home, and also one of the most used. Many people take for granted the ease and convenience of having a hot water heater. Simply turn on the hot water faucet and like magic, hot water is dispensed from the faucet. Surely 100 years ago, people would have thought it was some sort of magic to be able to dispense a constant stream of hot water! Whether yours is electric or gas powered, there are proper hot water heater maintenance procedures that should be performed to keep it running at its peak and prolong its life. The Lebanon, TN plumbers here at Steve Mull Plumbing have put together this excellent checklist of water heater maintenance tips to improve its efficiency and longevity.
Inspect the tank visually
Take a few moments every couple of months or so and look at your water heater. Check for water leaks around the base, on the top, and down the sides. It’s also a good idea to look for rust. Sometimes rust can be found along the bottom or the top if there is a leak. Keeping an eye on your water heater from time to time will allow you to make any repairs that may exist before they become larger, more expensive issues.
Inspect the T&P Valve (Temperature and Pressure Valve)
A professional inspection of your T&P valve is recommended by Steve Mull Plumbing each year. As an important safety feature, the T&P valve is usually on the top of the hot water heater, but sometimes located on the side. Its purpose is to disperse excess pressure in the water heater. As the water heater warms your water inside the tank, the heat expands the molecules of the water. As a closed system, the pressure can get high enough that it needs to leak a little bit of that water from the tank. The T&P valve performs this function. Without it, water would leak back into your home’s water supply line, which can create other issues.
A professional inspection of the T&P valve would require opening the valve and making sure water passes through the discharge tube and into the pan below the water heater. Once you shut off or release the valve, water should stop leaking. In this scenario, if water continues to leak, you likely need a replacement T&P valve. The valves themselves are typically inexpensive. With a reputable plumber’s labor costs, you should be able to have this replaced several times less than the cost of a water heater. This should be part of your annual water heater maintenance schedule.
Some people like it hot, some like it warm. The lower you keep your water heater’s temperature, the less expensive it will be to operate. The ideal temperature is normally around 120 degree Fahrenheit. The hotter the temperature setting on your water heater, the harder the heating elements have to work to keep the temperature inside the tank at that level.
Water Heater Insulation
Insulating your pipes is always a good idea to keep them from freezing in the winter, however have you ever considered insulating your water heater tank as well? This is a one-time job that will save you money! As part of your water heater maintenance, making this upgrade would take a little time, but in the long run it can save you big on water heating costs. Energy.gov estimates a savings about anywhere between 25% – 45% in heat loss, and about 7% – 16% in actual heating costs. It’s an inexpensive way to reduce thermal energy loss on your water heater. Most hardware stores sell insulation blankets that are made for wrapping your water heater.
Flushing the Water Heater
Flushing your system each year as part of your hot water heater maintenance is a good idea to check the color of the water. Over time, minerals and other debris can collect inside the tank of your water heater. Using the drain valve at the bottom of your water heater to flush the tank is a great way to perform this check. The professional plumbers at Steve Mull Plumbing recommend a complete system flush every couple of years. Our highly skilled team can perform this task for you.
Any water heater maintenance tasks you feel are out of your wheelhouse can be performed by the fully licensed plumbers at Steve Mull Plumbing. Give us a call today at 615-449-5019 or drop us a message on the form below. You can count on honest, reliable service from Steve Mull Plumbing.
We look forward to serving you!