Three Things To Know About Water Heater Maintenance

Sometimes there are so many things to keep track of it feels like your home should come with a manual.  One thing many people are guilty of overlooking is their water heater.  But if you forget about your water heater, you might be facing some greater issues down the line.  Check out these three things to know about water heater maintenance to make sure you aren't overlooking small issues that could be wasting your money and allowing a bigger problem to fester.

Sediment Can Collect in Your Heater

Because the water that's running through your plumbing may not always be the most pure, dirt and minerals can collect at the bottom of your heater.  If you're living in an area with a high mineral content in the water, sediment can actually accumulate quite quickly.  Drain your water heater with just a bucket and hose once a year to prevent buildup.  Buildup may sound benign, but over time it can decrease the efficiency of your heating and cause you to waste money.  In the worst case scenario, a buildup of mineral deposits can rust away your unit, which is a problem that can only be fixed by replacement.

Test Your Valves

While you are doing your annual draining, you should also be sure to check the pressure release valve.  First, conduct a visual inspection of the valve to ensure that there are no leaks.  Also, check for rust in or around the valve.  Then, place a bucket beneath the drainpipe and hold and release the valve.  If water doesn't come rushing out freely, then you have a problem with the valve and it probably needs to be replaced.

Check Your Temperatures

In order for your water heater to function at its highest levels, you need to check your temperatures regularly.  If your water is running too hot, not only do you run the risk of being burned, but your heater is working harder than it needs to, which ends up increasing your electric bill and decreasing your heater's lifespan.  But if your water is much too cool, then bacteria could be living in your water. Check your user manual to learn what the different temperature settings will mean for the machine.

The average water heater should last for about 10 years and doing the above will help get it there. Work with a heating contractor to find out more about maintaining different heating systems in your home.