Performing maintenance on your hot water heater on a scheduled basis each year will keep it running well and make it last for several years. Listed below here are the maintenance steps to complete each year to make that happen:
Testing your Hot Water Heaters’ Pressure Release Valve
Each year part of the tasks to complete when doing your hot water heater basic maintenance is testing the tank’s pressure relief valve. On most tanks the pressure relief valve is located at or near the top portion of the tank itself. The pressure relief valve tank is mounted to pipe set up to spray water downwards and out from the tank. This design feature is built into hot water heaters so if the unit releases hot water due to the tank having to much pressure it will not burn anyone nearby.
A hot water heater valves need to be turned open one to two times annually to test if they are working and to be sure each valve is not gummed up with calcium carbonate. Hot water heater valves can be tested when the tank is full. Lift the valve handle slightly to complete the task. Be sure to complete this task carefully, because when the valve is opened hot water will come out. Before doing the test, place a large bowl under the valve to handle the hot water that is released from the test. When the test is completed, if it turns out the valve release didn’t work (no hot water came out) or hot water keeps coming out, it means you’ll need to replace the valve. The old one is not working most likely because its clogged with calcium carbonate. To change out the old valve for a new one, turn off the valve that fills the tank with cold-water at the top of the tank, open the closest faucet to let the pressure out of tank, remove the current pressure relief valve and replace it with a new one.
Learn About the Hot Water Heater’s Dip Tube
Hot water heaters feature a part called the dip tube. The dip tube transports the incoming cold-water to the lower part of the hot water heater tank. If the part wears out and snaps off, incoming cold-water will go straight to the upper part of the tank, cooling off the tanks’ hot water.
If you review your tank and think the dip tube is snapped off or leaking, do following tasks to replace the part:
- Turn off the incoming cold-water supply valve.
- Take off the cold-water flex line connected to the hot water heater.
- Unscrew dip tube fitting at top of the hot water tank.
- Purchase the correct dip tube part to replace the faulty one and install it.
- Connect cold-water flex line and then turn on the cold-water supply.
Water Temperature Guidance
The best hot water heater practice for long product life is to keep the water temperature set at 115 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the temperature lower will save money in the long run on energy bills for gas or electric and it will keep the unit in better shape because will not suffer from overheating. If the water temperature heat setting is too high, it will make the tank make crackling and popping noises coming from the tank and its pipes contracting and expanding. If necessary, hot water heater pressure expansion tank can be installed by adding it to the hot water line to deal with the issue.
Basic Hot Water Maintenance Steps to Follow Monthly
Inspect your hot water heater’s pipes for water leaks or apparent repair issues. Hot water heating system’s that don’t have proper water pressure or water heat are a good indicator there’s issue that needs to be addressed. It is wise to check hot water systems after each big storm and the end of winter to see if there are any repairs that you need to deal with directly.
Insulate hot water electric heaters. It will lower your monthly energy bill and keep the water in the system hot longer. Insulating the system will also extend the life of the hot water system’s heating element, due to the fact will not have to work as hard do maintain the hot water temperature setting.
Inspect the venting and pilot light of your gas water heater on a scheduled basis. When inspecting the venting and air system check to see if there are any apparent visible repairs issues that need to be address along the entire system. Make sure there is nothing left near the hot water heater that can catch fire or corrode over time. Hot water heaters use direct heat, which when mixed with volatile materials is a recipe for disaster. Be sure to repair any system issues you observe during your scheduled inspection that need to be fixed right away. Check your system’s pilot light to make sure it’s light up blue or green, not yellow and unencumbered.
Follow the Albuquerque homeowner water heater maintenance strategies described here to keep your water heater running right and safe for years to come. If you cannot complete some of the tasks described here, be sure call the Albuquerque plumbing professional at Day and Night Plumbing to do the job right.