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How To Inspect & Maintain Your Water Heater

 |  Blog, Plumbing

During the cold winter months, the water heater in your home is an exceedingly important appliance if you want to remain comfortable. When a water heater is working properly, it will allow you to take a hot shower and wash your clothes whenever necessary. However, water heaters are prone to malfunctioning if you don’t have them maintained on a regular basis, which could leave you without hot water. Taking a cold shower on a cold day isn’t something that you would likely enjoy. In order to keep your water heater in good condition, you should conduct regular water tank inspection and maintenance on the system. Proper water tank maintenance and inspection will extend the life of the unit and make sure that your water heater needs are met.

 

How to Conduct Water Tank Inspection

If you want to make sure that your water heater continues to run properly and efficiently, the first thing that you need to do is to focus on inspecting the water heater tank. Once you’ve conducted a thorough inspection, you can then maintain the system and get it repaired if need be. There are a number of signs that point towards a larger problem with your water heater. For instance, if the water coming out of your faucets is much colder or much hotter than it’s supposed to be, this is a sign that the water heater isn’t working like it should.

 

Watch for Signs of Leakage

When you take a look at the actual water heater tank, look around for any signs that the tank has started to leak. If a leak has occurred, you’ll notice the formation of puddles or some dripping around the unit. When inspecting the tank, look for any rust buildup or cracks on the casing of the system. These issues could be problematic if left untended and may indicate the need for a heater replacement, which is something that should be determined by a plumber so that you don’t pay a large sum of money for a replacement when it’s not necessary.

 

Gas Powered Heaters Require Special Care

If your water heater is powered by gas as opposed to electricity, inspect the burner flame and make a note about its appearance. When your water heater is running properly, the burner flame will primarily be blue. If the flame has instead turned to a much brighter orange or yellow, this is a sign that the heater isn’t operating efficiently. This problem could be caused by a myriad of underlying issues, which is why you should have it checked by a professional plumber to avoid making a costly mistake.

 

How to Perform Water Tank Maintenance

Once you’ve conducted an extensive inspection of your water heater, you may need to maintain the system. These maintenance checks should be done every six months or so. The best way to perform any necessary maintenance is to do so immediately after you’ve inspected the water heater, which will allow you to keep the most pressing concerns in mind. If your system has started to leak, the problem may be beyond your expertise to fix, which is when you should heavily consider contacting a professional plumber such as ours to repair the issue.

 

Do-It-Yourself

However, there are a number of simple maintenance tips that you can follow before calling a professional plumber. The initial step that should be taken when maintaining the system is to check the main pressure valve to ascertain whether or not it’s working correctly. In order to do so, make sure that you turn off the water heater and trip the pressure valve. When you do so, some form of vapor, air, or water should be released from the system. If this doesn’t occur like it should, it’s likely that the pressure valve isn’t working and that it needs to be replaced with a new one, which is a task that can be handled by a plumber like ours.

 

Flushing the Tank

You should also flush out the water tank in order to release the built up sediments. Since both the power and water should be disconnected from the water heater when you perform this task, it’s highly recommended that you do this while checking the pressure valve. In order to properly flush out the tank, place a hose on the drain valve. Once the hose is secured, take the other end and position it in an area where you can get rid of the hot water without issue. While the pressure valve is fully open, you need to flip the drain valve so that the water can be released from the tank. Before you power on the water heater, connect the water back to the heater and turn on your faucets until water begins to come out of them. After it does, it’s safe to power up the heater once more.

 

Rod Maintenance

The final type of water tank maintenance that you can perform is to look at the anode rod. If you want your water heater to remain in good condition for as long as possible, it’s essential that the anode rod inside is also in good condition. This rod is a type of tool that is designed to help with the prevention of corrosion development within the water heater tank. When the tank has been fully drained, remove the hex bolt that’s positioned towards the top of the tank so that you can get a better look at the rod. Pull out the rod and perform a visual inspection of it. If the rod has become coated with a large amount of dirt and other sediment, the rod will likely need to be replaced entirely. The same is true if the rod has become very thin. While anode rods are designed to last anywhere from 5-10 years, you should inspect and maintain them every year to make sure that they remain in good condition.

 

Should You Call A Pro?

If you’ve found that your water heater has stopped sending hot water to your faucets, call our professional plumber immediately so that we can provide you with a timely fix.