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water heater maintenance

A reliable, non-stop supply of hot water is something you may take for granted until the water heater fails from a lack of preventive care. You can avoid the potential discomfort and inconvenience of a failure by performing regular water heater maintenance. Here's what you need to do:

  • Flush out the tank annually – Calcium and other minerals in water form into solids at high temperatures. These sediment particles gradually accumulate on the tank bottom and form an insulating layer that inhibits heat transfer. Sediment not only erodes energy efficiency, but a severe buildup can also reduce the tank capacity and eventually ruin the gas burner or electric heating element. Before following manufacturer's instructions on how to flush the tank, turn off the circuit breaker or put the gas burner on the "pilot" setting.
  • Replace the anode rod – The purpose of the water heater's sacrificial anode rod is to protect the metal tank from rusting out and failing prematurely. When you're performing a yearly tank flush, check the condition of the anode rod and replace it before it becomes too badly corroded.
  • Test the temperature and pressure valve – If the pressure relief valve isn't functional due to a mineral scale or corrosion buildup, it can't protect you from an explosion if the pressure inside the tank gets dangerously high. Test the valve once a year by raising and lowering the handle a few times to check that water flows out the drain line. If the water heater is more than five years old and you've never used the valve, don't risk testing it. Call in a licensed professional to replace it, and then test it annually.
  • Dial back the thermostat to 120 degrees – Most water heater thermostats are set at a manufacturer’s default of 140 degrees. Reducing the temperature by 20 degrees can cut the appliance's energy consumption by as much as 10 percent. The lower temperature setting also helps to slow down sediment formation.

For more water heater maintenance tips that can help keep life comfortable in your Easton or Baltimore area home, contact us today at Griffith Energy Services, Inc.

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