You turn your tap to hot and voila – hot water makes it way. Whether you’re washing dishes or jumping into a hot shower, your hot water heater plays a crucial role in ensuring your home’s comfort and convenience. However, proper maintenance is essential to maintain its efficiency and extend its lifespan. In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide on properly maintaining your hot water heater for maximum efficiency in your Calgary home.
How to Properly Maintain a Hot Water Heater for Maximum Efficiency
You probably don’t give much thought to your water heater – until you notice it’s not working and have a plumbing emergency. Whether this has happened mid-hair wash or it’s been taking a suspicious amount of time for the dishwater to run warm, it’s never a convenient time to notice there’s something wrong.
Unexpected problems are more likely to arise if you aren’t taking care of your water heater. There are some maintenance items you can add to your spring to-dos that can extend its lifespan and avoid emergency calls.
First up: regularly flushing the tank to prevent sediment buildup and ensure optimal performance.
Regularly Flush the Tank
Sediment buildup in your hot water tank can reduce its efficiency and cause issues over time. To prevent this, it’s essential to flush the tank regularly. For most Calgary homes, flushing the tank once a year is sufficient, although homes with hard water may need to do this more frequently. To flush the tank, follow these steps:
- Turn off the power supply to the hot water heater
- Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and place the other end in an appropriate drain or outside
- Turn off the cold water supply to the heater
- Open a hot water faucet in your home to allow air into the system
- Open the drain valve and let the water drain out until it runs clear, then close the valve
- Turn the cold water supply back on and let the tank refill
- Once the tank is full, turn the power supply back on
Inspect the Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve is a safety feature that releases excess pressure from the hot water tank. Inspecting this valve regularly is essential to ensure it’s functioning correctly. To check the valve:
- Turn off the power supply to the hot water heater
- Lift the valve’s lever and let it snap back into place. As the water is released through the valve, you’ll hear a gurgling sound.
- If water doesn’t flow through the valve or it’s leaking, the valve may need to be replaced
Check the Anode Rod
The anode rod is a crucial component of your hot water heater, preventing rusting and corrosion. Over time, the rod will deteriorate and need to be replaced. It’s recommended to check the anode rod every 1-3 years, depending on the water quality in your Calgary home. To inspect the rod:
- Turn off the power supply to the water heater
- Unscrew the anode rod from the top of the tank using a socket wrench
- If the rod is less than 1/2-inch thick or coated in calcium deposits, it’s time to replace it
Insulate the Tank and Pipes
Insulating your hot water heater tank and pipes can significantly improve its efficiency, reducing heat loss and saving energy. To insulate the tank, you can use a pre-cut insulation blanket or purchase insulation material and cut it to fit the tank’s dimensions.
For the pipes, use foam pipe insulation to cover the first few feet of both hot and cold water pipes. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for insulation and avoid covering any essential components or vents.
Adjust the Temperature
The temperature setting on your hot water heater can greatly impact its efficiency. Most manufacturers set the default temperature at 140°F (60°C), but lowering it to 120°F (49°C) can save energy and reduce the risk of scalding accidents. Keep in mind that some dishwashers may require a higher temperature for optimal performance, so consult your appliance manual for specific recommendations.
Regularly Inspect for Leaks
A leaking hot water heater can lead to water damage, reduced efficiency, and higher energy bills. To prevent these issues, regularly inspect your hot water heater for leaks, paying close attention to the tank, valves, and connections. If you notice any signs of leakage, contact a professional plumber in Calgary to assess the situation and perform necessary repairs.
Schedule Professional Plumbing Maintenance
While homeowners can perform many hot water heater maintenance tasks, it’s essential to schedule professional maintenance and inspections at least once every 1-2 years. A qualified Calgary plumber can identify potential issues, perform necessary repairs, and ensure your hot water heater runs at peak efficiency.
Proper hot water heater maintenance is crucial for ensuring maximum efficiency and extending its lifespan. By following these expert tips and scheduling regular professional inspections, you can keep your hot water heater in top shape and enjoy the comfort and convenience it provides in your home. Remember, when in doubt or if you encounter any issues, call the professionals at Plumbing and Heating Paramedics to ensure the safety and efficiency of your hot water heater.
Have you ever had a water heater break down unexpectedly? What was the fix? Did you need to replace it? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below.