Water Heater Maintenance

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Water heaters are some of the most neglected machines in the house. Even though they are supposed to have regular maintenance, many people ignore them until they break down. In the meantime, rust and other minerals accumulate in the water heater’s tank. These minerals then get into the pipes every time the hot water is used. They can discolor the water, make it smell bad, ruin its taste and cause it to stain fixtures.

Another component that needs regular attention is the pressure relief valve. This valve prevents the water heater from accumulating too much pressure. An overabundance of pressure can cause the tank to crack or even explode. Since the tank holds many gallons of water, such events can cause a disastrous mess.

Keeping the inside of the tank free of mineral buildup requires regular flushing. Flushing the hot water heater is simple in theory, but can be a big mess if you’re not prepared. At a minimum, all you need to do is turn off the water intake, open the drain cock and let the water flow out. If you have an electric water heater, you’ll need to turn off the element beforehand. Then, when the water runs clear, you close the drain and allow the tank to refill with water.

The messy aspect results from the fact that you’re releasing many gallons of water. This can be controlled by attaching a hose to the drain cock to direct the water to a more convenient location than the floor. You will also have to check the condition of the exiting water every so often, so you know when to stop draining. If it takes more than one tank of water to clear the sediment, you’ll need to repeat this process a few times.

If all of this sounds like a huge hassle, there is one way to get it done very easily: Hire a professional. You’ll get your water heater flushed, its pressure relief valve checked and all other aspects of the heater examined during the same visit. After the maintenance is complete, you’ll enjoy increased water heating efficiency and improved water quality. Once you use a professional service, you’ll never want to mess with hoses and buckets again.