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Fall Maintenance Tips: Water Heaters

Water heaters may be one of the appliances in your home you pay no mind to – that is until it stops working correctly. Routine maintenance is key to prolonging your units efficiency; if it’s not properly maintained, it may stop functioning all together or result in bursts of cold water when least expected.

With water heaters working extra hard in winter months, it’s important to prep them now before the real cold sets in. Add water heater maintenance to your fall maintenance checklist – just remember, while performing these tasks wear gloves, goggles, and other protective clothing!

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Check the pressure valve – Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, a pressure relief valve is installed as a safety precaution. Should your tank over-pressurize, it helps to release some pressure. Without it working properly your tank could explode!

  • For an easy test, turn off the gas switch to pilot (or cut its electricity) then make sure to shut off the cold water feed to the water heater. Use a bucket to catch water from the pressure relief valve and position it underneath. Then, give the trip lever on the valve a pull. You should hear a slight rush of air or see some water and vapor escape through the valve. If not – drain the tank and have it replaced.

Flush the tank – Over time, sediment builds up in your water heater which can limit the amount your water heater holds, cause clogs, and reduce it’s efficiency. Periodically flushing the tank helps avoid these problems while also extending the life of your unit!

  • To do so, repeat the above – turn off the gas switch to the pilot (or cut its electricity) and shut off the cold water feed. You may want to wait some time for the water to cool down, then work on connecting a garden hose to the tank’s drain valve that can lead into a nearby sink or bucket. With the pressure relief valve open, open the drain valve and allow the tank to drain completely. Then, close the tank drain valve, disconnect the hose, and close the pressure relief valve. Turn back on the water supply to fill the tank and finish by restoring power to your sediment-free unit.

If you are unsure about anything regarding your water heater – give the professionals a call. Our Patterson Plumbing & Heating plumbers are gas and electric water heater repair experts. For over 25 years we’ve been helping families keep hot water flowing in their homes and can fix all makes and models! Contact us today for fast, friendly, and courteous service: 719-544-4922.

photo source: Flickr

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