The water heater plays a pivotal role in most households. It is one of the most reliable appliances that endures plenty of daily usage and accounts for a significant portion of the monthly energy bills. Neglecting this appliance shortens its life expectancy, hampers its performance, and leads to energy inefficiency.
Therefore, you need to roll up your sleeves and commit to doing regular maintenance. This is the only way to enjoy the constant flow of hot water and achieve consistent energy savings. Here is how to ensure that your appliance runs silently and remains dependable for years and years to come.
Testing the water
The water heater is a key home appliance that heats all the water needed to bathe, cook, as well as wash the dishes and clothes. Hence, it is responsible for a lion’s share of utility spending – up to 20%. The good news is that proper maintenance goes a long way towards ensuring maximum performance, decreasing energy consumption and preventing problems such as raptured tanks.
So, first off, grasp the ins and outs of how water heaters function. The heating technology has come a long way, yet the basics remain the same.
When continually storing, heating, and reheating water, a heater can last eight to 12 years on average. This may not seem like that much to some, but bear in mind that heaters usually provide around-the-clock access throughout the year. Handling so much overtime, they are gradually deteriorating in terms of optimal performance and energy consumption.
Recognizing the common issues
Next, you should be aware of the telltale signs of malfunctioning, neglected, or aging heaters.
First off, we have temperature fluctuations, an issue that could be the result of a faulty heater part. Most often the dip tube, a faulty electrical component, or a sediment build-up on the bottom of the tank is the culprit behind this.
Furthermore, keep an eye out for a leaky pressure-relief valve (PRV). This is a safety hazard that involves the valve not being able to release pressure inside the tank, which could lead to raptures as well as serious and costly water damage.
Water discoloration is another problem that requires attention. It is a harbinger of corrosion in the tank, or of a deteriorated anode rod. This component protects the heater from rust and corrosion by capturing various chemicals in the water. Hence, it must work properly at all times.
Note that all these problems should prompt you to invest more time and effort into maintaining your heater. Of course, in cases of more severe damage and malfunctions, it might be a good idea to purchase a new, quality electric storage hot water system or its gas counterpart. These unbiased reviews of the best tankless water heaters will give you heads up in your search for the right model.
If you decide on getting a new device, you should get it from a company that provides more than a service, someone who cares for the environment and is dedicated to minimising emissions by making sure that each and every old hot water unit that is removed is suitably recycled.
In any event, you have to come up with a simple, DIY maintenance plan. You are going to need simple tools such as screwdrivers and a bucket.
First on the list is something you need to do every three months. Namely, drain one quarter of the heater and the PRV with the help of the bucket. This facilitates the removal of sediment and the proper functioning of the PRV. Once a year, you also need to make sure to flush the entire tank.
Start by turning off the electricity, the pilot light, and the cold-water inlet valve. Connect the garden hose to the bottom valve and open it in order to begin the draining. Once this process is completed, turn on the cold-water inlet valve. Flush the tank for five minutes and turn off the cold water. All that is left to do is to detach the garden hose and turn on the cold water to fill the heater back again.
Every three years, the anode rod should be inspected. Remove the hex screw and examine the anode rod core that is usually made of steel wire. In case five or six inches of wire is exposed, you should replace it.
Finally, bear in mind that annual professional inspection and maintenance is highly recommended. You might be able to tackle most of the maintenance yourself, but nothing can replace the occasional touch of a trusted professional.
Turn up the heat
If you want to extend the lifespan of your heater, develop a deeper understanding of the way this appliance functions. Use acquired insights to put a regular maintenance strategy in place. The effort you invest in it will be a drop in the bucket compared to all the benefits you will be able to reap. Following the simple steps presented above enables you to trim your energy bills and get the most bang for your buck. Your heater will serve loyally for a decade or more.