Our expert team at Affordable Plumbing and Heat always advises our clients about the importance of regularly maintaining their water heater. While we can very well conduct the periodical check on your system, it still pays to inspect and take some cursory checks every now and then on your part. After all, this will serve as a key to the lasting performance of your home’s unit.
Generally, a water heater should last between eight to 13 years. That life span, however, is contingent on the amount of care you put into it. Let our team of professionals help you in making sure your water heater stays in tip-top shape for as long as possible with this handy guide.
A Closer Look Into Your Water Heater
Take note that different minerals will come out of the water as it is being heated in the tank. These things are called sediment, and they will settle out of the water. As this builds up, however, transferring heat to the water becomes harder eventually, which may then lead to bigger issues down the road. In the long run, your heater may encounter more complex issues, including decreased efficiency and even premature failure.
Fortunately, remedying these issues is just a phone call away when you get in touch with us at Affordable Plumbing and Heat. Nevertheless, we encourage our clients that routine maintenance is still paramount, and part of this is removing the built-up sediment.
Drain and Flush Your Water Heater and the Tank First
Start your water heater check by conducting a flush. First, turn off whatever powers your heater, whether it is gas, oil, or electricity. Next, open the hot water faucet or supply and the pressure release valve. Make sure you have a hose and bucket near you, as these will be necessary when draining the water from the tank. Conduct the drain and flush until the tank is free of any sign of sediment.
Once you are certain that the tank is clear of sediment, turn on the cold water faucet/supply. Letting the cold water through will further clear it of minerals that may prove to be detrimental to the tank.
If you are using a tankless heater, though, you will still need to drain and flush it. Again, you will need to turn off the gas or the power and cold water to the unit before proceeding. Next, connect the garden hose to the sump pump and to your heater’s isolation valve. Place the ends of the hose and the valve to a bucket filled with white vinegar. Once you turn on the pump, the vinegar will circulate and clean out the sediment from the heater. Afterward, throw out the vinegar and repeat the circulation, but this time, fill it with water.
Once you are done with any of the two draining and flushing processes, shut the valve and disconnect the hose. Fill up the tank before turning on the power. You can better ensure the longevity of your water heater by conducting this drain and flush process each year. If the problem appears to be too severe, make sure to contact our prompt and friendly staff. We provide the best water heater services, from quality parts to reliable installation and repair.
Inspect the Heater’s Anode Rod
You may have noticed a steel core wire in a standard water heater that is surrounded by a variety of metals. This is what’s called the anode rod, and it plays a significant role in determining the lifespan of your heater. Without this small component, rust and corrosion are more than just inevitable; they become imminent.
See, this rod provides the necessary protection for the exposed steel inside the heater. The electrolysis process takes place, wherein the anode rod corrodes instead of the steel while the heater is being filled up with water. In short, it sacrifices itself to let the water heater last as long as possible.
As it serves this vital role in the system, the anode rod, unfortunately, opens itself to an earlier demise. Once it is corroded completely, it can no longer provide the protection of the water heater lining needs. In turn, the entire system is placed in jeopardy especially if this remains unchecked and unreplaced. When this happens, you may face the following problems soon:
- Broken rod
- Premature failure of the entire heater
Similar to the first maintenance step, it is imperative that you shut off the power to the heater and the valve, then turn on the hot water tap. Next, open the pressure release valve to drain some of the water from your tank. Be sure to check for any signs of rust in the drained water, though.
Look for the anode rod on your water heater. It pays to check your owner’s manual first to find its exact location quickly. You may need a wrench and even WD-40 to unscrew it, which will allow you to inspect it closely for any signs of corrosion. If you see that it is corroded, it is perhaps time for a replacement. The presence of calcium deposits is also a clear-cut indication that the rod is past its due time. Another bad sign is if most of the rod is less than ⅜ of an inch in diameter. Lastly, greater visibility of the support wires is a red flag.
A typical anode rod may last up to five years, but its lifespan still depends on the amount of use and abuse your water heater takes inside. Nevertheless, it is better to contact our team at Affordable Plumbing, Heat & Electrical for a more professional way of inspecting and replacing the anode rod. Be sure to schedule an appointment with your Colorado heating experts to perform the replacement, especially as:
- The process requires the use of specialized tools
- There is a risk of damaging the pipes
- There is a need for greater overhead clearance when replacing the anode rod
Once you are done with the inspection, make sure to mount the anode rod back, then complete the flush. It is also preferable to drain a few more gallons of water before you turn the water and the power back on once you are done with the entire maintenance step.
Test the Water Heater’s Relief Valve
Check the valve on the bottom of your tank, which serves as a safety mechanism should there be too much built-up pressure inside. You may notice a switch somewhere on the side of your heater with a discharge pipe. If the pressure inside increases to a very high level, the valve will open automatically and release, while the pipe will direct the flow of water down and away.
Begin testing the valve by either placing a bucket underneath or attaching a garden hose onto the valve. Should you choose to fix a garden hose, you may link it to a sump pump or let the drained water flow to your yard.
Now, open the drain valve; if water comes up, it means your heater is still in good working condition. Take note that if you cannot open the valve even after lifting the lever or if there is a leak anywhere in the valve, a replacement may be in order soon. Make sure that you get in touch with your trusted professionals at Affordable Plumbing and Heat at the first sign of water around the tank. We will be sure to act on it right away, as we provide 24/7 service to Denver, Colorado Springs, and the surrounding areas.
Clean the Filter of Any Tankless Water Heater
An additional maintenance procedure exclusive to tankless heaters involves the air intake filter. The role of this specific component is to keep any debris from getting into the heater.
Again, conducting this step once a year is a must. By doing so, you can make sure air flows smoothly and continuously into the heater. Fortunately, the process is fairly easy.
Start by locating the air intake filter, which will require you to take off your unit’s faceplate. Make sure, however, that you check your owner’s manual for the proper instructions. Take out the filter to begin cleaning it.
All it takes to clean the air intake filter is rinsing it with clean water. You may also need to brush it while rinsing it for a more thorough cleanup. Dry it with some paper towels before you place it back inside.
Be reminded, though, to disconnect the heater’s hoses, screw-on all caps tightly, and open both hot and cold water valves before switching the power back on of the unit. You also need to check for any leakage.
Contact Our Experts at Affordable Plumbing and Heat
When you experience any issue involving your water heater, get in touch with our team here at Affordable Plumbing and Heat right away! Apart from water heater installations in Denver and Colorado Springs, we are an expert in providing solutions to all types of heater problems.
We can work on the following types of water heaters:
- Electric water heaters
- Tankless water heaters
- Propane water heaters
- Hybrid electric water heaters
As all water heaters can succumb to wear and tear, we will be sure to diagnose the problem first and see if a simple repair can suffice or if a replacement is necessary. Our team is comprised of certified and fully trained experts, so rest assured that we will determine the best solution to the issue. Furthermore, we offer 24/7 service, which means you can have the peace of mind knowing we can attend to your concern at the soonest possible time. We also take pride in the honest and transparent way we communicate with each client of ours, so you are assured of the best selection for all your water heating needs in Colorado. Call Affordable Plumbing and Heat today to know more about our services.