If you've have the unfortunate experience of having your water go cold during a shower, you know how important it is to maintain your water heater. However, a water heater problem does not just mean personal discomfort. If you water heater malfunctions, it can be dangerous for those in your home. In addition, water heater repairs can cost you tons of money. So how can you keep your water heater in great shape?
Check Your Pressure Valve Regularly
You can do this by checking the test lever on the temperature relief and pressure valve. The lever should lift easily. If it does not, the valve is faulty. If the lever does lift but no water or steam comes out, you will need to have the valve replaced by a water heater plumber.
Flush Your Tank
Flushing a water heater is a bit more complicated than checking the pressure valve, so if you do not feel comfortable, hire someone who specializes in plumbing repairs. If you want to try it yourself, you need to make sure that the water flow to the water heater is turned off and the electricity is completely off as well. You then will let the water heater cool. Next, drain the water from the tank with a pump and a garden hose and save the water in a bucket. This way, you can see the water clearly. If there is debris and sediment in the water, you need to refill the heater and drain again. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.
Set the Temperature Valve to 120 Degrees
When you buy a new water heater, it is likely set at 140 degrees. However, are you ever going to take a 140 degree shower? Not unless you want burns. Since you don't need water heated to 140 degrees, you can save money and also put less strain on your water heater by setting the temperature valve to 120 degrees.
Get an Annual Inspection by a Professional
If pressure within a water heater builds up too high, it can be dangerous for you and those in your home. So once per year, try to get an inspection by a plumber who specializes in water heaters. This can save you time and pain in the long run. When you do see a specialist, be sure to ask him/her about their advice on maintaining your water heater between simple checkups. A professional can show you how to flush your tank, for example, if you feel uncomfortable doing it the first time on your own.