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Hot Water Heater Maintenance

Fatima Rangwala
Hot water heaters generally have a life expectancy of 10 years or so; however, knowing the procedure for hot water heater maintenance in depth, can protract the longevity of this appliance. Just follow the basic safety precautions and tips given in this story.
Till date, conventional hot water heaters have proven their efficiency over the last several years. Working on a basic phenomenon of electricity or a burner, these physical energies help to heat the water in the tank and allows it to store therein for later use.
The operation of this appliance is pretty simple, and hence common problems with this device are apparently going to comply. In due course of time, there is a possibility for the water heater to wear out of its condition, and hence it needs a proper hand of maintenance to further avoid the existence of similar problems.

Maintenance Tips for a Hot Water Heater

Remember, maintaining a water heater can be a very dangerous job to deal with, but as long as you follow all the safety measures and precautions from your manual as well as this story here, the job will go off smooth and fast.
As of now, to start off, a homeowner needs to know the location of the water heater which is preferably located in a garage. Now proceed further to read the rest of the tips.

I. Leakages

The heater can show leaks and water drips apart from the genuine condensation on the device. If that is seen in any case, there's a clear indication that the heater is faulty.
Solution: To resolve this problem, check the drain valve to ensure it's fully tightened. Next, check for all the pipe connections and valves present in the area situated below the unit. Also, another possibility you can check for is the temperature pressure relief valve. See to it that it's not triggered causing leaks and water seeping problems.

II. Reset or Replace Thermostat

You might even have the best hot water heater installed in your home, and yet it totally refuses to give out hot water even after its switched on. Definitely there is some problem with the thermostat inside the device. If it's a gas water heater, the pilot light or the gas light may not come on.
Solution: The only solution is to either clean the burner or replace the thermostat. It is highly recommended that a homeowner does not do this job himself. Call for a HVAC technician to get this job done.

III. Relief Valve Maintenance

The job of a relief valve is to allow the water to properly flow out of the overflow pipe without any hassle. On pushing the handle of the valve in an upward or downward direction, if the water doesn't flow freely, then the solution is...
Solution: First option is to get it repaired or replaced. Secondly, always remember, get your valve tested once a year to ensure it is working fine.

IV. Ensure the Water Pressure

The pressure of the water flowing through the unit is supposed to maintain a value of 60 to 80 pounds per square inch.
If there is an excessive pressure flowing more than an 80 psi value, the piping and the whole unit in the heater can get damaged. Moreover, it is capable to set off the temperature pressure relief valve and cause extra damage in no time.
SolutionEither maintain the psi value in the hot water heater or install an additional expansion tank.

V. Adjusting the Temperature Setting

Using a lower temperature in the heater relatively gives a lower energy bill and also saves a lot of wear and tear of the instrument. In addition to that, it insures the tank from overheating and also helps in the maintenance of the thermostat.
SolutionUnder the front panel of the heater, there is a temperature adjustment knob. Set the heater temperature to anywhere around 115 to 120 degrees F.

VI. Replacing the Anode

Worn out or rusty anodes can damage and wear of the hot water heater tank's condition to an extreme. The anodes in the system need a changing hand.
SolutionCatch hold of a plumber to get this replacement job done or you yourself can do it on your own too. Make sure the gas is turned off before you attempt any operation.

VII. Drain the Tank

It is suggested to drain the water from the bottom of the water tank when it comes to maintenance of hot water heaters. This process helps in clearing unwanted settled sediments at the bottom of the tank, which in turn exhibits a high heating efficiency and prevents rust and corrosion on the insides of the heater.
SolutionThis is a periodic process which is supposed to be exercised once in a 6 months time frame. Open the drain valve situated at the bottom of the tank and drain about 1 or 2 gallons of water from the heater. This helps to do away with all the accumulated sediments at the bottom of the tank.

VIII. Insulation

Many homeowners do not care to regulate their insulation materials present on the water heater. They stay rugged and worn out for long, finally leading to a failure in the apparatus. Insulation of the water pipes is utmost important.
It has a couple of entailing benefits, like reduction in heat loss, assurance of the water to flow to the ultimate finish, preservation of energy in the entire process, and lastly, insulation is capable of raising the temperature of the water emerging through the faucet.
Solution: Get a yearly maintenance done for the insulation of the water heater. If you plan to buy a new heater, make sure you buy one with a thick insulation, whose tank is wrapped by an insulating material itself.
All of these aforementioned tips are supposed to be carried out with utmost care, so that there is a least hassle while performing the maintenance procedure.
Some off-hand tips like, regularly cleaning the vents on the hot water heater, is vital for thorough air circulation. This way, the room where the device is installed is kept away from noxious fumes and smelly gases.