When it comes to home plumbing, one of the most important aspects is your water heater. A properly maintained hot water heater provides you with hot water to use in your home, but it also makes sure your water remains healthy as well through proper filtration. To keep your water heater is the best condition possible, it is important to perform maintenance on them before the winter and summer seasons. These are very simple for homeowners to do by following these steps:
Remove the Water from the Tank
When the water enters the tank, mineral deposits, sand, and other sedimentation can collect on the bottom. This buildup can cause rust damage to the water tank and adversely affect the quality of the water. It can also make your water heater work harder than necessary, which can result in premature wear. To avoid this buildup of sediment, you should drain your tank annually to bi-annually. If you live in a particularly sandy region, you may want to drain the tank quarterly to ensure your water is safe.
Before you get started with draining your tank, take a few moments to get familiar with it. You will need to locate the water shut-off valve, the pressure release valve, and the drain in order to remove the water from the tank. Once you have located these parts, go to your breaker box and turn off the electricity to the tank by flipping the breaker, which should be labeled. If you have a gas-powered hot water tank, find the gas switch and change it to pilot. Next, turn off the cold water inlet and connect a standard garden hose to the drain valve. Open the pressure release valve, the drain valve, and then the tank will then begin to drain. After the water has stopped flowing, close the drain valve and disconnect the garden hose.
Inspect the Pressure Valve
The next step in hot water tank maintenance is inspecting the pressure valve. The pressure valve, present in both gas and electric water heaters, serves as a safety mechanism if a hot water tank becomes overly pressurized. If this happens, the pressure valve will automatically open and let the excess pressure escape. An improperly functioning pressure valve can result in a hot water tank explosion due to too much pressure inside.
To inspect the pressure valve, turn off the electricity at the breaker box or change the gas light to pilot just as you did to drain the tank. Turn off the cold water inlet. Place a bucket or other container near the inlet in the event some water escapes from the pressure valve. Next, pull very carefully on the trip lever located on the valve. This will release the pressure. You will know pressure is escaping if you hear air coming out of the valve. If you do not hear the hissing of air coming from the valve, you need to replace your valve, as it is not functioning.
Taking the time to perform these two hot water tank maintenance procedures is fairly simple to do. Always consult the operator's manual that came with your tank before you begin. If you are not sure if you are able to do this yourself, simply call a professional plumber like one from All American Plumbing & Heating to take care of your hot water tank.