man working on a water heaterOur plumbers can verify that your water heater is an essential part of your home, and needs specific care to ensure it performs properly on a regular basis. Even though the average lifespan of a water heater is a little over ten years, there is a good possibility it will not make it that long if proper maintenance is neglected. Below are some helpful tips you can easily implement to keep your water heater functioning at peak efficiency for as long as possible:

Check the Temperature

Paying attention to your water heater’s thermostat is a simple action that can pay off significantly in the future. This is because certain manufacturers preset the water heater’s temperature to 140°F and consumers never change this initial setting. However, our plumbers recommend setting the temperature at approximately 120°F, as this temperature is sufficient for virtually any household. On the other hand, elevated temperatures can result in corrosion in the pipes, accelerated mineral buildup, and even scalding. Additionally, the lower temperature of 120°F goes a long way toward helping you save money on your energy bills and may also prevent tank damage over time.

Flush the Tank on a Regular Basis

You may experience water line clogs and a reduction in the energy efficiency of your water heater if sediment and debris are allowed to build up in the tank. Therefore, you should flush the unit twice a year to prevent these problems. However, it is only necessary to flush out approximately 25% of the tank. This is easily accomplished by shutting off the cold water supply, attaching a garden hose to the drain valve and then allowing the water to flow until it runs clear.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

You should conduct a pressure relief valve test regularly in order to clear out debris and check the unit’s pressure. This is done by simply raising and lowering the heater’s test lever. When the lever is raised and lowered, a burst of hot water is dispensed into the drain pipe unless the valve is not functioning properly. If the valve is not releasing a substantial burst each time it is tested, call one of our professional plumbers who can give you an estimate on having a new one installed. 

Insulate the Heater and the Pipes

Insulating the pipes and the heater itself is also a good way to protect the unit and increase its lifespan. However, you should never cover the tops of gas or oil heaters. If you are unsure about how to complete this task or any of the others mentioned above, always contact an expert  plumber.

Knowing When to Call a Professional

A water heater is a somewhat complex appliance that requires regular maintenance and attention to keep it running properly. If you discover an issue you know you cannot solve on your own, reach out to one of our licensed plumbers and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing the task is in the hands of a professional.