Here are a few maintenance tips to help extend the life of your heater and improve energy efficiency.
- Why drain your water heater?
As water is heated, minerals are released from the (hard) water and left behind in the water heater tank. The rock-like sediment cause poor energy efficiency, shorter water heater life and less hot water. NOTE. Use extreme caution when draining hot water heaters—the water might scald you. To further conserve energy, flush the hot water heater after bathing, washing clothes, or cleaning dishes when less hot water is in the tank. Open the drain at the bottom of heater twice a year, letting the water run into a bucket or attach hose and run to drain until it looks clear (usually about 5 gallons). Prevents hard water sediment accumulation. (Good reason to have a water softener that removes hard water minerals). Electric water heater? Make sure you turn off the power before draining. If you don’t you could destroy the heating elements.Please Note: After many years of experience, sometimes a drain valve that’s never been opened before, especially an old plastic drain valve, will leak when closed. If it does screw on a steel cap with pipe thread to stop water leak.
Also, do not drain hot water into a toilet as it may crack or onto your lawn as it will kill the grass. If you don’t feel comfortable with this chore, ask a professional like PDM for help.
- Temperature-pressure relief valve operation is critical for safe operation.
Test pressure buildup by lifting or depressing its handle and draining water from the overflow pipe once a year. If water doesn’t drain out, shut off water to the heater, open a hot water faucet somewhere in the house, replace valve. A defective pressure relief can cause the water heater to explode. See exploding water heater video. Due to the scalding potential of the hot water, the outlet from the valve should be piped to a safe area. Typically they are piped down into a drain line.
- Anode rod prevents water tank corrosion.
This metal rod usually made of magnesium or aluminum. It helps prevent corrosion of the metal tank. Electrolysis eats away the metal anode instead of the metal of the tank. Once the anode is gone the tank itself begins to corrode. To prolong the life of the tank, make sure your anode rod is still there, and replace it when needed. The anode is screwed into the top of the tank and can be replaced. Sometimes the anode is built into a special outlet fitting.
- Gas burner.
You may need to clean burner. Dirt causes poor combustion, wastes up to 15% energy.
- Ensure sufficient flue draft upstream to make sure deadly carbon monoxide gases leave the building.
- Water Temperature.
It doesn’t take long for hot water to cause serious burns. Be extra cautious with babies, young children and elderly. About 4,000 children are scalded by tap water every year, injuries that can leave permanent scars or cause death.
120°F – Can scald in over 2 minutes (make sure it’s safe)
125°F – 90 to 120 seconds
130°F – up to 30 seconds
135°F – up to 10 seconds
140°F – Less than 5 seconds
145°F – Less than 3 seconds
150°F+ – About 1 second
- Dip tube.
This is a long narrow tube that directs incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank. If a dip tube is broken, it may seem as though you run out very quickly, or you just get a luke warm temperature.
How long do you wait for hot water at your faucet or shower?
Save up to 16,000 gallons of water each year with a demand hot-water recirculating pump. And use less energy than it takes to run a 25-watt light bulb…to say nothing of the tremendous ecological benefit that goes along with it.
A re-circulating pump attaches directly to your heater.
Requires no additional wiring or electrical expense. The pump keeps the water in your pipes moving, resulting in a constant availability of hot water without the wait or the waste! Turn the shower on and get hot water.
Older water heaters cost up to 27% more to operate!
- Older efficiency standards as well as more energy is needed to penetrate lime scale buildup.
- Minerals take up physical space in the tank meaning you’ll have less hot water.
If your unit is eight years or older and you’re having a problem, for a quarter or so a day a new heater can help pay for itself in energy savings, give you more hot water and peace of mind. We recycle your old heater too.
Call PDM Plumbers for water heater help.