How to Maintain Your Hot Water Heater

Your hot water heater is one of those home appliances that you don’t think about very often until suddenly it stops working and you’re stuck taking ice cold showers.

However, with a little preventative maintenance done throughout the year, you can help to extend your tank’s lifespan and keep your water running hot and efficiently. At the same time, you save money on repair and replacement costs. Here are several easy and inexpensive ways you can maintain your hot water heater.

Steps to Maintain a Hot Water Heater

1. Test the TPR Valve

Gas and electric water heaters both have a temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve that opens to release built-up pressure in the tank. It is important that you regularly test the TPR valve because excess pressure can cause your water tank to explode.

To test the TPR valve, shut off the cold-water supply valve, place a bucket under the discharge pipe on your water heater’s tank and gently lift the lever on the TPR valve to release the pressure.

2. Check the Anode Rod

An anode rod is a steel core wire that protects the metal lining inside your hot water heater tank to prevent explosion or corrosion over time and should be checked every two to three years.

To check the anode rod, drain your tank of a few gallons of water, loosen the hex head screw and unscrew the rod. If it is less than 1/2 inch thick, coated in calcium, or more than 6 inches of core steel wire is exposed, you should replace it.

3. Drain the Tank and Wash Out Sediment

Sediment buildup in your hot water heater tank can reduce your unit’s efficiency and clog your water lines. To avoid this, you should flush your tank every time you check the TPR valve.

To drain your unit, turn off the cold-water supply, hook up a garden hose to the drain valve and run the water into a bucket. Draining two to three gallons of water is usually enough, but always let the water flow until it is clear and free of sediment.

4. Adjust the Temperature

You can save up to 5% on energy costs for every 10 degrees you lower your hot water heater’s temperature. To do this, find the temperature dial on the side of the tank and unscrew the cover. Adjust the dial to 120 degrees using a flat head screwdriver. Also, if you plan on being away from your home for more than 3 days, you can turn off your water heater or turn it down to its lowest setting.

5. Insulate Your Unit

If you own an older hot water heater, insulating it with a fiberglass jacket can improve its efficiency. Cut the insulation to fit around pipes, the TPR valve, and the temperature control and wrap and secure it around your tank. You can also insulate your hot and cold-water pipes with foam pipe insulation.

6. Have Guaranteed Peace of Mind with a Service Agreement

No matter how good a hot water heater is, if it is not regularly maintained, it will not operate as efficiently, safely, or last as long as it should. At Supreme, we offer Guaranteed Peace of Mind service agreements so that you never have to worry about if your hot water heater is being properly maintained. Call our team to learn more and discuss our service agreements in more detail! We will be sure to recommend a program that best fits your needs!