It can be hard to appreciate something until it is gone. Hot water heaters are potent tools for our comfort and modern lifestyles and when one breaks, it can make a huge mark on your household.

Water heater maintenance is the key to keeping your hot showers and warm loads of laundry going. This means slacking off on proper water heater maintenance can cost you big.

What things do you need to know about water heater maintenance? We at Air Expert know our way around all sorts of appliances, so we’re here to help! Let’s begin! 

The 6 Keys to Water Heater Maintenance

Owning a house requires a constant cycle of maintenance and care. Water heaters can be delicate, and expensive, machines. When things go wrong, they can result in some messy and even dangerous problems. That’s why you need to stop them before they do! 

Keep these 6 maintenance tips in mind when dealing with your water heater. 

1. Test the TPR Valve

The TPR valve, or temperature pressure release valve, is a key element to balancing your water heater. It will often be on the side of the water heater, with an easy to spot switch at the top.

To test the valve, put a bucket underneath the pipe the valve goes with. Release the valve to drain some water into the bucket and then switch it back off. If the water continues to flow for a bit, then you need to replace the valve.

When replacing, make sure to drain the tank about halfway before removing the valve to avoid messy leaks. 

2. Check the Anode Rod

There is a special rod on top of your water heater that goes by the name of an anode rod. This rod acts as a sacrificial barrier to keep your pipes and tank from corroding together.

If the rod is less than 1/2 inch thick, has more than 6 inches of wire exposed, or has a heavy coating of calcium on it, it needs replacing. 

3. Drain the Tank to Remove Sediment

A few times a year, you should drain the tank to remove any built-up sediment in the tank. Attach a hose to the drain valve and empty the water into a large bucket.

As soon as the water coming from the hose doesn’t have a cloudy look to it, the sediment should be clear. 

4. Control the Temperature

Monitoring the temperature of your water heater is crucial to both its lifespan and keeping your water from running too hot. 

120 degrees is often the sweet spot for many water heaters and can save you about 5% of your energy costs with every 10 degrees you lower it. 

5. Insulate the Pipes

You lose a lot of heat as the water runs through your pipes. This heat can bleed right off the pipe, losing you a lot of efficiencies.

To prevent this, wrap your pipes in an insulating layer of foam pipe insulation. Make sure to buy the right size so it fits snug. 

6. Wrap the Heater

As with the pipes, the tank can also lose heat. A fiberglass jacket can do wonders on older tanks who start to lose heat too fast. Secure any unsealed edges with tape. 

The Best Service for Your Water Heater

Now that you know the how and the what of proper water heater maintenance, you can keep your water heater happy and healthy.

Parts of the maintenance process can get complex. When in doubt, if you are uncertain of how to maintain your water heater, we here at Air Expert are happy to help. Contact us today for more information!