Now that winter is officially here, it is important to keep warm as efficiently as possible. One of the most often overlooked aspects of the home is your water heater. It is crucial to invest some time and money into properly maintaining your water heater to ensure that it is in optimal condition.
Check the Pressure Relief Valve
The pressure relief valve will prevent the water heater from combusting or breaking down in extreme situations. While different manufacturers recommend different intervals for testing, we recommend doing this at least once a year, preferably in the fall or early winter.
The most effective way to test the valve involves gently pulling up on it and ensuring that hot water is released from the discharge tube.
Flush the Tank
Empty your water tank and clean it on an annual basis. This will help clean out sediment that settles at the bottom of the tank. Water tanks with excessive sediment buildup can corrode more quickly and require replacement sooner than a tank that has been emptied and cleaned on a regular basis.
Inspect the Anode Rod
Anode rods are made from magnesium or aluminum with a steel core. While they are often referred to as sacrificial rods, these are a vital component to any water heater because they prevent the tank from rusting.
The anode rod reacts with the water and begins to corrode in order to protect the small amount of exposed metal in the water tank. If your anode rod is completely corroded, you will need to replace it ASAP to ensure your tank does not rust and require an expensive replacement.
Adjust the Temperature
Winter typically brings low temps, often below freezing, which can directly affect your water heater temperatures as well. Keeping your water heater set at the normal temperature might not be enough to heat the water and send it through your pipes while maintaining a comfortable temperature.
It makes the most sense to increase the temperature of your water heater by about 5-10 degrees to ensure that you will be able to enjoy hot water even when the weather is frigid outside.
Insulate Your Pipes and Water Tank
If you live in a very cold climate, we highly recommend insulating your pipes and water heater. Insulating the pipes will block their exposure to cold air and prevent them from freezing and consequently, bursting. Insulating the water tank will help conserve heat, making it easier on your water heater and more economical for you.
We are happy to come and check your water heater and perform all necessary tests to better winterize it. Feel free to give us a call at (206) 900-9231, especially before the weather gets any colder!