10 Tips for Preventive Maintenance on a Hot Water Heater

tankless water heaterHerrmann Services is here to help you take excellent care of your traditional or tankless water heater with professional maintenance tips:

  • Learn how often to check your heater’s pressure valve for safe operation.
  • Understand the anode rod’s function and how to determine whether to replace it.
  • Educate yourself on which parts of your water heater to insulate for improved operation and appliance longevity.

With the amount of money you spend on a water heater, it only makes sense that you want to do all you can to get as much use from it as possible. Herrmann Services is Cincinnati’s most trusted plumbing family, and we’ve taken great care of the area’s plumbing, HVAC, electrical, and drain cleaning services for over 50 years. While we’d be happy to take care of your water heater repair, we want to help you learn more about maintaining a water heater so you and your family can enjoy reliable, clean hot water for years to come.

1. Check the Pressure Valve

Both electric and gas water heaters have a temperature-pressure release valve, sometimes referred to as a “T&P valve” or “TPR valve.” This safety feature opens in the presence of too much heat or water, which helps prevent explosions and unnecessary damage.

Every few months examine the valve for sediment or residue, either of which may block the valve’s opening. Turn off the power to your water heater and open and close the valve a few times. Monitor the drainpipe’s water flow, as a functioning valve lets water flow when open. Don’t see any water released? Have one of our professionals look at your unit.

2. Flush the Heater

Whether you have hard water in your Cincinnati neighborhood, sediment may build up in your water tank faster than in other properties. It’s essential to address sediment at the bottom of the tank sooner rather than later so the appliance does not use too much energy heating your water. Another risk of allowing sediment to settle is it may cause corrosion and leaking.

One essential part of maintaining a tankless water heater is an occasional flush. While you may have the tools for the flush, including a garden hose, floor drain, and colander, you may find it easier to leave the job to an experienced water tank expert. You don’t want to risk harm from splashing hot water.

3. Inspect the Anode Rod

Your water heater’s anode rod pulls in minerals that may otherwise become sediment. Homeowners should check their anode rod at least once a year to ensure it’s still in working order. Rods usually last from three to five years, so let us help you keep track of how long you’ve had your current rod.

Check your rod by shutting off the power to your heater. If you like, you can drain a few gallons of water from the tank to check the inside for rust. On top of the tank, loosen the hex nut to reveal the attached anode rod. If you see mineral deposits clinging to the rod, or if you can see a substantial portion of the core wire, we recommend buying a new anode rod at your local hardware store.

4. Inspect the Water Heater

Make time to inspect your water heater visually. A thorough inspection may help you spot signs of damage or anything else that may be amiss. Besides your eyes, use your ears to see if you hear any odd or concerning noises coming from your water heater. If you suspect something’s not right, call us and schedule a professional inspection from one of our trusted technicians.

5. Lower the Temperature

Most homeowners in Cincinnati and everywhere else across the country set their water heater temperature slightly too high. You want your water nice and hot, but not so hot that it causes burns. Try setting your temperature to 120 degrees and see how that suits you and your family. You’ll likely notice the difference when you get your next utility bill.

6. Replace the Air Intake Filter

If you have a tankless water heater, it has an air intake filter to block debris from entering the heater and hampering its operation. Replace the air filters regularly, so your filter always protects your water heater,

7. Insulate Your Pipes

Other than the tank itself, we suggest you also insulate the pipes connected to the appliance during the coldest months of the year when your pipes may freeze. You do not want to have to deal with a burst pipe, as it may lead to substantial damage, expense, and frustration. Let us know if you need help with choosing an ideal insulation material for your pipes.

8. Check the Gas Lines

If gas powers your water heater, check the gas lines. Look for signs of corrosion or cracks, ensuring that you address problems you notice as soon as possible. Do not take risks if you suspect you have a gas leak, as they can pose a hazard to you, your family, and your neighbors.

9. Use a Water Softener

Do you have hard water in your area? Hot water tanks inside homes in hard water neighborhoods are more susceptible to sediment buildups. Consider installing a water softener to address hard water, sediment buildup, and premature appliance aging.

10. Add an Expansion Tank

Do you have a heater in a closed system that doesn’t allow water backflow? If so, the water needs somewhere to flow when it expands upon heating. Temperature and pressure shifts may lead to premature wear and tear. Add an expansion tank to give your appliance some relief.

Schedule a Maintenance Inspection Today

Some water heater maintenance tasks are simple enough to handle yourself, but others require a technician’s experience, resources, and tools. Reach out to a Herrmann Services representative today to create a maintenance schedule. Let us help you bring out the best in your investment and your heater.

No matter what manner of maintenance your appliance needs, we do everything to save you money without compromising service quality. Check out our most recent specials, and let us know if you want to know more about our written home services guarantee, no-surprise pricing, or our warranties. Call us at 513-216-1355. If you like, you can complete and submit a Contact Us form. We look forward to taking great care of you and your water heater!

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