DIY Water Heater System Maintenance For The Homeowner
Water heaters are among our most valuable appliances at home. They provide us with warm, relaxing baths; help us thoroughly clean our dirty clothes; wash our greasy pots and pans and many more. This appliance is indeed worthy of every penny we’ve invested on it, considering the convenience that it consistently brings. And with proper care and maintenance, it will surely last for more than 10 years. Here are some tips that you have to follow when taking care of your water heating system at home.
1. Check the Temperature and Pressure Valve (T&P valve).
The water heater tank seals in high amounts of temperature and pressure to keep the water warm. Once in a while, you’ll have to relieve the pressure to prevent the tank from exploding or leaking. To accomplish this maintenance task, locate the T&P valve which is commonly situated at the side or on top of the heating tank. Carefully lift the rocker arm. If it won’t budge at all, it needs to be replaced immediately. If it won’t snap back down after lifting, it must be loosened.
2. Keep the temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Setting the appliance’s temperature higher than that may result to accidents such as scalding. Also remember that for every 10 degrees that you lower the temp, you’ll be saving up to 5% on your energy consumption.
3. Maintain a clearance space of 2 feet around the tank.
Unless otherwise stated on your appliance’s user’s manual, you have to set a clear space of 2 feet around the unit. This should avoid the onset of fire-related accidents.
4. Inspect the anode rod.
The anode rod is that piece of magnesium or aluminum stick that’s dipped into the water heater tank. Its main purpose is to protect the water storage from corrosion. Rust cannot be prevented but instead of letting it eat away on the tank, it will instead eat away on the anode rod. Make sure that the rod is replaced when about 6 inches of its core wire is already bare; when it’s coated with calcium or when it is less than half an inch thick.
5. Insulate the pipes.
Insulating the pipes will help improve the appliance’s efficiency. While this is a must on older water heating units, you should know that new ones already come equipped with insulation. You should never skip this part especially during cold winter months, when heating water becomes a bit difficult for the appliance.
6. Insulate the tank.
To lessen the amount of standby heat loss and instead keep the water in the storage tank warm, you should also insulate the tank. You can use an insulating jacket, a R.4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap, for this task. Just don’t cover the top part of your gas or oil water heater.
7. Flush it!
Don’t forget to drain your water heater tank two to three times a year. As you can see, every time that water fills the tank, sediments, minerals and debris also get in and accumulate at the bottom of the water storage. These sediments should be removed to help the appliance perform efficiently and also to keep it in good condition.