Your water heater is a big part of your daily life, even if you don’t think about it often. It allows you to take warm showers, do your laundry, wash dishes, and more. If you rely on it so much, it only makes sense that you should know how to take care of it properly. By doing so it will last longer and you can help ensure it works when you need it. In this guide, you will learn how to maintain your water heater properly. Check out these helpful tips below. 

Steps to Follow to Maintain Your Water Heater

There are multiple steps that need to be followed to ensure your water heater is properly maintained. It is important that every step be followed carefully. If certain tasks aren’t performed properly, your water heater is more likely to run into problems. Calling on a professional like the professionals at Meade is one of the best ways to ensure your water heater is properly taken care of. However, if you are curious about the process you can expect your Meade technician to follow, you can check out the maintenance steps below. 

Tools Required

  • Bucket
  • Pipe wrench
  • Garden hose
  • Socket wrench with 1 1/16-inch head
  • Flathead screwdriver

Locate the Water Heater and Turn Off the Water

Before you do anything else, locate the water heater and turn off the water. Water heaters are typically located in the basement, garage, crawlspace, or attic. Look for a large white cylindrical tank. Once, you locate the water heater, locate the valves to turn the water on and off. These are usually near the pipes that lead into the tank. Then move the lever or knob to turn the water on or off as needed. 

Test the Temperature-Pressure-Release Valve

The TPR valve releases pressure from the tank when it gets too high. To test the TPR valve, first, turn off the cold water supply. Next place a bucket under the pipe leading from the valve. This is usually on the top or the side of the tank. Finally, lift or turn the valve to release some water. If water keeps flowing continue to partially drain the tank. If this happens, you will need to replace the valve with a new one. Use a pipe wrench to unscrew the old one and then install the new one. 

Check the Anode Rod

The anode rod helps protect your water heater’s tank from explosions and corrosion. To replace an anode rod, first, the water tank should be drained a bit. Attach a garden hose to the “boiler drain” on the bottom of the tank and empty some water into a bucket. Don’t drain it all the way, though. Next, unscrew the rod with your socket wrench. Finally, install the new anode rod by wrapping the threads of the new rod in Teflon tape, inserting it back into the tank, and tightening it. 

Drain the Tank and Wash Out Sediment

One of the main aspects of maintenance is to keep your water heater clean. To accomplish this, the water needs to first be fully drained from the tank. Next, the sediment at the bottom needs to be mixed up so it can also be flushed out. To accomplish this, open the cold water valve so the water breaks up the sediment. Keep draining and repeating until the water coming out is clean and clear. Finally, close the drain, refill the tank, and turn the power back on. 

Adjust the Temperature

The higher your thermostat is set on your hot water heater, the more energy it consumes. Then adjust the temperature, find the dial on the side of the tank. Open the cover; you may need to unscrew it. Set the temperature to 120 degrees; once again you may need to use a screwdriver. If you are going away on vacation, turning your heater down to the lowest settings can also help you save on energy costs. 

Insulate the Pipes

Insulating your pipes help the water retain more heat so you can save more energy. It is a good idea to check your insulation regularly to make sure it is still in good condition. If it is ripped up, you should consider replacing the insulation on your pipes. To do so, buy self-sticking, foam pipe insulation that matches the diameter of your pipes. Slide the foam over the pipes as far as you can. Peel the tape off and press on the insulation together to seal it. 

Insulate the Heater

Your pipes aren’t the only thing you should insulate, you can also insulate the water tank. This can also help prevent the loss of heat and save you in energy bills. Buy a water heater insulation jacket, cover, or blanket. If the blanket isn’t already precut, cut the insulation to fit around things like pipes, the TPR valve, and temperature controls. Wrap the side of the tank and seal it with foil tape. If you have an oil or gas heater, do not cover the top of the heater as this can be dangerous. If you have an electric heater, you can cap it with a circle of insulation that is larger than the diameter of the tank. 

How Long Should My Water Heater Last?

Most water heaters will last for about a decade. However, it can vary based on how well you take care of it. While it can be tempting to perform maintenance yourself to save some money, using a professional HVAC contractor like Meade will help you ensure your system is taken care of properly. When your system is taken care of properly it will likely last longer and you are more likely to get your money’s worth on your investment. 

Overall, the better you take care of your system, the more you will get out of it. Let the professionals at Meade help you keep your system in tip-top shape so your family has warm water when they need it. If you notice any issues or need help with maintenance, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with one of our professional technicians.