3 Tips Will Help Get Your Water Heater Ready for Fall & Winter

by Sam Parazzo on November 25, 2016

3 Tips Will Help Get Your Water Heater Ready for Fall & Winter

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You probably don’t give much thought to your home’s water heater: few people ever do. That is until they step into the shower one morning to find that it’s only yielding cold water. Thankfully, there are a few simple and easy steps that you can follow to help prolong the life of your heater and reduce your energy costs at the same time.

Do a Safety Check

Your hot water tank has a temperature and pressure release valve designed to automatically open if the pressure or temperature inside gets too high to avoid a possible explosion or scalding. You can test the valve by placing a bucket under the drainpipe connected to the valve.

With the power and water supply turned off, lift the tab attached to the valve to allow water to run out of the drain. If little or no water comes out, or if water continues to run after you have closed the valve, it probably needs to be replaced. Drain the tank part way, remove the valve with the plumbing wrench and install a new one in its place.

It’s also a good idea to check the temperature setting on your water heater’s thermostat regularly. We recommend setting it to 120°F to avoid scalding. You can further conserve energy and save on your energy bills by setting it to a lower temperature.

Replacing the Anode Rod

The anode rod inside your water heater serves to prevent the rusting of your tank by drawing the corrosive elements in water and allowing itself to rust first. Once it has become too corroded, the water can begin to attack the integrity of your tank.

To check your anode rod, first turn off the power and water supply to the heater and drain several gallons through the drain valve located near the bottom of the tank. You can connect a standard garden hose to the drain valve to accomplish this. Next, loosen the hexagonal rod head found on top of the tank, using a 1 1/16-inch socket. Pull the rod out of the tank; if you conclude that it has corroded to less than ½ inch in diameter, it needs to be replaced.

Replacement anode rod can be purchased at plumbing supply stores and most home improvement centers. Wrap Teflon tape around the thread of the new rod and secure it tightly in the tank.

Draining the Tank

If your water heater is more than a few years old, the chances are that sand, grit, and other sediment has accumulated on the bottom of the tank, making it harder to heat the water. You can get rid of that sediment by emptying the tank. Again, with the power and water supply shut off, connect a hose to the drain valve placing the other end into a floor drain or somewhere outside where the water can drain safely.

Turn on a hot water tap nearby to allow the water to drain more easily and open the drain valve. Once the tank is empty, turn the water supply back on to stir up any remaining settlement. You may have to repeat this step a few times until the water runs out clear.

By completing these easy tasks, your water heater will perform better, last longer and deliver plenty of hot water throughout the coldest months of the year. Of course, you can also rely on the Fix It Fast Plumbing team in Los Angeles, CA for quality expert service and professional advice all year round. Call us at 888-465-7012 to schedule an appointment.

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