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    5 maintenance tips for home water heater systems

    Because no one likes being left out in the cold

    Hannah | Oneflare

    Maintaining your home water heater routinely is a great way to save money. If your water heater already has problems, then it is best to hire a professional plumber, but basic maintenance is something you can do yourself. Basic maintenance is a great way to keep your water heater running for longer and catch potential problems early on.

    Learning a new skill always takes a bit of practice. It’s hard to mess up too much with basic water heater maintenance, but not impossible. Before you do anything, make sure you know what you are touching and what will happen if you break it. Messing with machinery with no idea what you are doing is a terrible idea.

    Here, we’ll take you a few ideas on how to maintain your own water heater. Before you do your own maintenance, you should watch a video to make sure you are looking at the right parts and fixing the right thing. It is not hard to maintain your water heater once you see what you are supposed to be doing.

    Source: South Adelaide Plumbing and Gas

    1. Check the TPR valve

    Starting by testing the temperature-pressure-release valve is a great jumping-off point. The first thing you want to do is put a bucket underneath the pipe connected to the TPR valve that you will find on the top or side of the tank. This will prevent a possible mess and catch all the water you are about to let out.

    Then you are going to need to turn off the cold-water supply valve. That way you know that no new water is running through. Finally, you are going to lift the top off of the TPR valve and let some of the water drain out into the bucket.

    If the water continues to flow out after you have let go of the TPR valve, then there is a problem. It is likely that you need to drain the tank about halfway and then install a new TPR valve. Make sure you are looking at the right valve and that you turned off the cold-water before you replace anything.

    2. Wash out your water heater’s tank

    Depending on how hard your water is and how much calcium and sediment is in your tank, you should be cleaning out your water tank about every six months. It is not a complicated process so much as it is inconvenient. It is much more affordable to clean your own hot water system than it is to hire someone else.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is completely drain out your water system. There will be a layer of sediment on the bottom of your heater that you will need to move a bit by letting some more water pour in from the cold-water valve. That will allow you to wash up the sediment with new water that is not already full of leftover calcium.

    Drain the new water and repeat until all or most of the sediment, is emptied from your water heater. Once your tank is as clean as you can make it clean the drain cock and refill the tank. Once you are certain everything is back in its proper place, you can turn the power back onto your hot water system.

    3. Change the temperature

    If your water is running a bit too cold or hot, there is a way to change the temperature yourself. There should be a temperature dial on the side of your tank with a cover that you can unscrew easily. Once the cover is off, you are going to need a flat head screwdriver to adjust the temperature.

    Every ten degrees you lower the temperature should save you about five per cent of energy costs. If you plan to leave the house for more than a weekend, you should turn the water heater off completely and turn the thermostat down to save money and energy.

    Changing the temperature on your water heater is not something that you need to do often. You probably don’t need to do it at all unless you are very serious about saving energy and money. It does not help enough for most people to consider it worthwhile, but it can be helpful if you are leaving town or running low on funds.

    4. Check the anode rod

    Find the drain cock on the top of your water heater and stick a hose it in. Allow a few gallons of water to drain out of the hose into a bucket or drain. Then find a socket wrench that will allow you to unscrew the rod.

    The rod should have a hexagon shape, and an 11/16 inch socket wrench should fit over it nicely. If the rod you pull out is on the thin side or covered in calcium, then you need to purchase a new anode rod. Your anode rod should be more than half an inch thick and have a minimal amount of calcium on it.

    At the very least you should be able to see the metal under the calcium without scraping. If your anode rod is less than half an inch thick or covered in calcium, then you need to buy a new rod for your water heater.

    5. Insulate your water heater tank

    Newer water heater models will probably have their own insulation. If you have an older tank than you can likely benefit from insulating it yourself. It is a simple project that saves you money the same way insulating your floors or walls would.

    All you really need is an insulation blanket. It just looks like silver bubble wrap and is very easy to wrap around your whole water tank. Make sure you also carefully cover all the piped up in insulation too so that none of the heat escapes that way.

    Once you have your insulation blanket all tapes to your tank, then you should be ready to go. It is an incredibly easy way to help you save money and energy with only a couple of cheap materials. If you have an older water tank insulation is definitely a project you should look into.

    6. Maintain annealed copper pipes 

    Regular maintenance ensures the optimal performance of continuous-flow electric hot water systems. One important aspect is the inspection of the annealed copper pipes used in these systems. Annealed copper is known for its durability and resistance to corrosion. Check for any signs of leakage, corrosion, or damage in the copper pipes regularly.

    Wrap up

    Our water tank is an incredibly important machine that you have in your home. It is important you keep up on some of the basic maintenance it requires so that you can save money and catch any forming problems. Luckily, there are a few basic bits of maintenance anyone can do.

    Washing out the tank once every year or less is so important to make your tank last. It would be best if you got all the extra sediment and calcium out of there, so it does not build up and damage the tank. Changing the temperature on your tank and insulating it are both ways to help you save money and energy.

    All of these are simple ways to maintain your own water tank. Not everything can be DIY, but small projects like these can absolutely be done without hiring anyone. Make sure you talk to a professional before you do anything more complicated.

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