Although water heaters may do a diligent job of providing adequate hot water for eight to ten years with minimal water heater maintenance, this often “out of sight, out of mind” condition may not be serving you well in the long run. This appliance, second only to your heating/cooling system in annual home energy consumption, can be made to run more economically and efficiently by performing a few preventative maintenance steps. It’s not uncommon for a unit receiving regular water heater maintenance to enjoy a life span of 20 years.
Some of these steps can be accomplished by you, the homeowner, although calling in a professional isn’t a bad idea, especially if it’s been years since anything has been done to your unit. If the pressure relief valve, for example, has never been operated (which it should be, once a year), it may need replacement after being activated just once. The same is true of the drain valve, which should also be operated once or twice per year during the tank flushing sequence. Sometimes an old drain valve, once operated, will begin leaking. Again, this calls for a replacement valve.
Besides extending the life of your equipment, regular water heater maintenance will also allow your unit to run more efficiently, which will lower its energy consumption and save you money. The most important step you can take is to flush the tank once or twice a year, depending on how hard the water supply is. Minerals and sediment sink to the bottom of the tank, causing the water heating process to take longer than it should.
There’s also a magnesium or aluminum sacrificial anode rod suspended in your water tank to inhibit rust and corrosion. When it gets eaten away it must be replaced or the tank will start going downhill quickly. Many people don’t even know this rod exists, but it’s something the pros will check.
Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing in Traverse City has been serving our Northern Michigan clients for more than 30 years. We’re happy to provide any information or advice you’d like to maximize your water heater’s operation.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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