There is no doubt that water heaters have become an indispensable part of our lives. People get so comfortable in their homes and business facilities that they cannot imagine living without hot water. Unfortunately many homeowners neglect their water heaters for years until hot water disappears from their taps or the water heater breaks down completely. In this case it would be imperative to call a qualified plumber to troubleshoot the problem. However, all the hassle could be averted if the proper maintenance and safety measures were taken in time, since it is the only way to prolong the lifespan of your water heater.
Water Heater Maintenance and Safety Tips
To be a successful water heater owner means longer tank life expectancy of your water heater, reduced energy bills, and occurrence of little to no damage as a result of possible water leakage. The following simple tips will keep you aware of potential troubles and help you stay prepared in case of a plumbing emergency.
1. Identify the location of your water heater to gain a free access to it. This might seem understandable, but it is no surprise when your hot water system is hidden away in an attic or basement and not easily reachable.
2. Be aware of the type of your hot water heater, whether is it natural gas, propane, electric or solar. Also find out whether you have a storage tank type or tankless type water heater. The model number and serial number of your water heater is important to know as well.
3. Make sure you know how to shut off the fuel or power supply to your unit. There should be a gas valve or a disconnect switch close to the water heater location. It’s worth finding out beforehand where your main gas shut off valve is situated. Doing some preparation in advance will make a big difference in the situation when the water is leaking all over the place.
4. Get an Expansion Tank
If you want to double the life of your hot water heater, use the expansion tank in case if you have what is called a closed system. The expansion tank will receive excess water that cannot hold inside the water heater, which can help to prevent problems with water pressure.
5. Make sure the area around your water heater is clear and do not store anything within a couple feet of your unit. First of all, this will be useful if you have a gas fired water heater to help it “breathe”. The burner also requires oxygen to burn gas. Secondly, in case when the unit starts leaking, the water won’t be seen or soak into what is being stored around your water heater. Such a prolonged leak can potentially cause more water damage and make the water heater reheat itself more often, wasting energy. Thirdly, remember that it is a fire hazard.
6. Flush or Clean the Tank
Even though many homeowners are purchasing advanced water heaters that may not need flushing and cleaning, those with an older tank need to flush it out every year. Flushing the tank will prevent sediment buildup, making the tank more efficient and have it last longer. To find out more about cleaning the water heater tank, contact Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.
7. Keep an emergency phone number handy. When you encounter problems with your unit, it might be hard to find the phone number of the plumber when you need it. At Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning we can help walk you through shutting of the gas and water and come to the rescue in case of the emergency.
Hiring a professional HVAC specialist to maintain your hot water heater unit is usually more preferable. Maintenance should be performed once a year, before any problems can occur with the unit.