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water heater maintenance

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

Tips for Prolonging the Life of Your Water Heater

Nothing to make you think about the health of your water heater more than having to suffer through an unexpectedly freezing shower first thing on a winter morning. 6900773105_6ce864351c_b

Water heaters are much like a car – the older they get, the more likely they are to break down. Preventative maintenance is key in prolonging your water heater’s life however more often than not, water heaters tend to go unnoticed until something goes wrong (out of sight out of mind).

Here are some tips to help prolong the life of your water heater:

Test the pressure relief valve – This valve is usually located on the side or at the top of the water heater tank and is critical to safety and proper operation of your water heater. When the pressure inside the tank is higher than it is supposed to be, the valve will open on its own. To test the valve, simply lift up on the lever part way, then let go and allow it to snap back. You should hear a gurgling sound as the valve allows some water to be released into the drain tube. If you hear nothing – it’s time to replace the valve.

Clear the sediment out of your tank by draining it–  Over time, sediment can settle and build up inside of a water heater, causing its efficiency to dramatically decrease. This can lead to corroded pipes and plumbing problems down the road. Avoid these problems by draining and flushing your water heater annually.

Lower the temperature – Your water heater only needs to be set at about 115-120 degrees Fahrenheit to function at its proper levels and adequately perform all of this household functions. Keeping your water heater set to this temperature will prevent scalding as well as reduce the amount of sediment buildup – and as a bonus it’ll lower your energy bill.

Water heaters are a part of our daily lives, so keeping them in tip top shape is important. If you are having problems with your water heater, give us a call! We specialize in repair, service and installation of all makes and models – gas water heaters, electric water heaters and tankless water heaters.

photo credit: Water Heater via photopin (license)