A little bit of effort every so often to ensure that your water heater is able to perform at it's best potential is highly recommended by us. Doing a few key things every now and then will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars down the road when you need to repair or replace a water heater that has been poorly cared for.
Follow these tips to ensure you get the most out of your electric, gas, or tankless water heater:
1. Keep the thermostat adjusted to around 120 degrees.
For every 10 degrees that you lower the temperature setting, you'll save about 5% in energy costs each month. Keeping your water heater dialed in at an appropriate temperature that will provide you with hot water that is just right-- not too hot and scalding, but still a temperature that allows you to enjoy a shower just as you'd prefer, is a small thing that requires just a few seconds of your time, and can save you money month after month.
2. Maintain about two feet of clearance around the appliance at all times.
Keeping the area around your unit free and clear does a couple of things. It allows you, or a repairman, to have plenty of room to handle draining the tank, or executing service on the unit. It also prevents any foreign objects from causing damage to your water heater that may cause bigger issues. If a leak springs, you want to be able to get to it and put a stop to it quickly, so that you limit that damage the overflow of water causes to your home.
3. Drain about 25% of the tank a few times each year.
Doing this helps to remove the sediment that builds up in your tank from having water come in and out all the time. Excessive build-up of sediment can have adverse effects on your unit, and cause it to do weird things like overheat, and function improperly. Turn the cold water supply off, hook a garden hose up to your tank, and drain it into a bucket. When the water is clear, you know you've done everything in your power to remove as much gunk as possible from the tank.
4. Test the temperature-pressure (TP) relief valve once per year to ensure it's working properly.
Quickly discharging it two to three times will give you a good idea that it's working the way it should. After doing so, keep an eye on it for any leaks. Tightening this valve up is a simple measure that can save you from big trouble later on.
5. Examine the anode rod about every three years.
A simple check of this rod will help to ensure that your water heater is working properly, and give you an idea of the life it has left. Look for build-up of calcium, the rod being less than 1/2" thick, and for more than 6" of core steel wire that is exposed. If you notice any of these, replace the rod immediately.
6. Adjust the setting to "vacation" when you're leaving town.
This is perhaps the simplest tip on the list, and yet almost nobody does it. If you have a gas water heater, this will maintain the pilot light, without heating the water. Not only will this save you in energy costs for the time you are away from the home, it will also significantly reduce the chances of anything bad happening while you're gone, as pressures are reduced and water temperatures obviously lowered.
Hopefully the above tips provide you with some simple maintenance tasks to perform during the life of your water heater. If you need water heater repair in Savannah, you know who to call.