How to Maintain Your home Water Heater
Though water heaters do not have to be an expensive household item to replace, it can be a hassle if an individual was not expecting to do so. It is important to have a checklist of items anyone in the home can do in order to increase the lifespan of a water heater. The more an individual is up-to-date with maintaining their own water heater, the less likely they will have to call in a professional plumber if the water heater breaks down.
Every now and then, turn the valve that shuts off the water to prevent it from seizing in the future. Every few months, flush out the water heater. Flushing out the water heater can get rid of sediment and dirt that can build up and clog the pipes, leading to a call to a plumber to repair, or even replace, the pipes. If the water heater is gas powered, turn the gas valve to “pilot” – this will prevent the water heater burners from turning on if an individual is flushing out the water heater. If the water heater is electric powered, shut down the circuit breakers.
If an individual has a gas-powered water heater, it is important to always check the flue to make sure it is draining air correctly. To quickly check, take a lit match and put it alongside the bell housing. Watch if the smoke goes up the flue. If it does go up the flue, then air is being drained properly. If it does not go up the flue, call a plumber to check for a problem.
On any gas powered water heater, always check that the pilot light is working properly and burning steady with a blue flame. If the pilot light needs to be relit, always read the instructions on how to do so first from the water heater manual. If the pilot light will not remain lit, check to see if there is condensation along the water heater that is dripping into the pilot light, if the gas pressure is on a very low setting, or if there is something, such as air or dirt, that is creating a buildup in the gas line.
It is very important every few months to drain dirt and sediment out of the water heater tank. This prevents clogs throughout the system as well as internal damage to the water heater. Take a normal garden hose and attach it to the drain valve, which is located at the base of the water heater, and put the other end of the hose away from the home to drain. To do this, lower the temperature on the thermostat, turn off the cold water supply, and undo the drain valve. Undo the pressure relief valve by raising the lever, and leave it unlocked. At the base of the water heater is the drain valve and it should be opened; the hose should be attached so the water can run through the hose. An individual will know when the entire water heater tank is cleaned when the water starts to run clear. Then shut the drain valve, switch on the cold water supply, and reset the thermostat. Caution is necessary as the water coming out of the water heater might be very hot.