A water heater is an essential home appliance that provides hot water for showers, dishwashing, and laundry. You may run into problems when it malfunctions.
Water heater maintenance is necessary to prevent malfunctions, avoid premature heater replacement, prolong its life and improve its energy efficiency. Read on to learn how to clean and maintain your water heater.
Why Clean Your Water Heater?
Your water heater needs regular cleaning because calcium, sediments, and minerals collect at the bottom of the tank. If you leave them to build up, they can clog the water pipes resulting in a reduced water supply. The sediments can also damage the heating element and compromise the quality and safety of your water.
Steps in Completing a Water Heater Tank Cleaning
Cleaning your tank is essential in any standard water heater maintenance procedure. It involves the steps below:
1. Switch Off Your Heater
Switch off your water heater and turn off the cold water supply valve. If you have a gas water heater, turn the thermostat into the pilot position or shut off the power from the breaker or fuse box for an electric water heater. Allow the water to cool before proceeding to the next step.
2. Connect a Garden Hose
Locate the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater and attach one end of a garden hose to it. Attach the other end of the garden hose to a floor drain. Cover it with a towel or a heavy blanket.
3. Drain the Tank
Open a hot water faucet in a nearby sink to avoid creating a vacuum and allow the tank to drain faster. Open the drainage valve and allow sediments to drain from the water heater tank. If you don’t have enough time to allow the water to cool overnight, be careful, as the water draining from the tank will be too hot. Likewise, be careful not to damage the drainage valve. Consider contacting professional plumbing services if you have a faulty drainage valve — it may be dangerous to drain the tank with a damaged valve.
4. Test the Water
When you have drained the tank for about twenty minutes, test the water to see if it still contains sediments. Collect water in a bucket and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Check if it becomes cloudy or murky at the bottom. Continue draining the tank until you have removed all the sediments.
5. Close the Drain Valve
Close the drainage valve and detach the garden hose. Open the cold water valve and fill the tank. Do not close the hot water faucet to remove any excess air. When you have completely filled the tank, close the hot water faucet and switch your water heater back on. Wait 20-30 minutes and test the water temperature by opening a hot faucet.
When To Repair Your Water Heater
Regular cleaning and maintaining your water heater can prolong its life and minimize the need for frequent repairs. However, you may need to contact a professional for repair in the following cases.
- Failed gas valve
- A broken thermostat
- A rusty anode rod
- A broken drain valve
When To Replace Your Water Heater
A standard electric water heater can last 10-15 years, while its gas counterpart can last eight to ten years. However, you may need to replace it earlier if you notice the following signs.
- Visible corrosion
- Rust on water
- No hot water
- Rumbling noises
Cleaning and maintaining your water heater ensures you have enough hot water whenever you want to shower, do your laundry, or wash dishes. Although maintaining your heater is a simple DIY process, you may require professional plumbing services when your water heater needs repair or replacement. Contact us today for all your water heater maintenance needs.