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5 Maintenance Tips to Avoid Water Heater Damage this Fall & Winter

servicing-a-water-heaterA water heater is an enormous expense, and while a unit will typically last 10 to 13 years, there are things you can do to maintain yours, protect it from damage, and extend its life.

Not only will this keep your water heater working better and for longer, but it will also save you from having to purchase a new unit prematurely.

And with the cold weather just around the corner, there is no better time than now to take steps to keep your water heater safe from damage this fall and winter.

Lost Efficiency

  1. Insulation: A lack of insulation won’t damage your water heater, but it will certainly put a dent in your wallet. To prevent this, you can install an insulating blanket or jacket on the tank, and insulating sleeves on the pipes. This will improve the efficiency of your unit by up to 45 percent, and allow you to turn down the temperature of the water heater by up to 4 F.
  2. Temperature: Adjusting the temperature of the water heater can actually help prevent damage to the tank, because if the temperature is too low, bacteria can thrive in the water. And while these bacteria are a threat to your health as well, they can also eat away at the metal of the tank. To protect your family and your unit, adjust the thermostat so that your water heater is around 140 F.

Stop Rust from Forming

  1. Flushing: There are a number of reasons why you should flush your water heater every year, including to protect the unit from rust, protect your family from bacteria, and improve the efficiency of the unit. The purpose of flushing is to remove sediment buildup from the bottom of the tank because this sediment can lead to bacterial growth in the water, which isn’t just a hazard to your family, but also to the metal of the tank. Moreover, the sediment makes it more difficult to heat the water, thereby making your unit less efficient.
  2. Anode Rod: The anode rod, on the other hand, serves a single purpose: to protect the unit from rust. By sitting inside the water tank, the anode rod removes corrosive elements from the water so that they cannot rust the tank. The anode rod needs to be inspected every one or two years and replaced whenever it fully corrodes.

checking-water-heater-temperaturePrevent Serious Damage

  1. TPR Valve: Damage caused by a faulty temperature and pressure relief valve won’t just be to the water heater itself, but also to your family and your home.

The TPR valve opens to relieve pressure inside the tank when it becomes too high, so a faulty valve can lead to a catastrophic explosion. This is why you should be testing the valve monthly rather than yearly.

Performing fall and winter maintenance for your water heater will keep it functioning properly for many years, and help protect it, your home, and your family. But if you do discover any necessary repairs, call in the experts it Jim Wagner Plumbing Inc., in Lombard, IL. You can reach us at 630-577-9241, whether you need help with water heater maintenance, repairs, or any other plumbing needs around the house.