How many times a day do you use hot water? We take hot showers, hot baths, and wash our dishes and clothes in hot water – having hot water is an important part of our daily lives. But how often do you check on your home’s water heater? While it may not be something you think about every day, it’s important to keep your water heater maintained.
Water heaters are generally a reliable appliance and can last for many years, especially when properly maintained. Having a regular maintenance plan in place increases the lifespan of your system, adds to the safety of your home and lowers your energy bills. With proper care, water heaters usually last between 10 and 15 years. However, neglecting your water heater can lead to major issues.
Here are some of the problems that can occur when you neglect water heater maintenance, along with tips for keeping your heater healthy:
- Internal parts can become corroded or encased in a buildup of minerals, causing a decline in efficiency. If you have hard water, calcium can build up in the tank. Annual flushing of the system is important to prevent any blockages. If you are hearing strange noises like knocking or booming from your water heater, it could mean that residue has built up inside. A buildup also means you will need additional gas or electric to heat the water, causing higher energy bills. Improve the water quality by installing a water softener.
- In areas with a high mineral content in the water, draining the heater and flushing the tank once a year can help prevent a large amount of buildup. This works only if done consistently.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning can become a problem, as most water heaters in the Dayton area use gas to heat water. Left alone, carbon monoxide gas can leak into the air and poison humans. Be sure your home has a carbon monoxide detector and perform annual maintenance to protect against gas leaks. Water heaters have important safety devices that should be checked annually.
- Check the water heater’s temperature and pressure-release valve. If the valve is faulty, too much pressure can cause the tank to burst.
- Check the unit every few months to make sure there isn’t water at the base. A leak is the most common sign of a failing water heater. If there is a leak, you will see water all around the tank, and you should to call in a professional immediately.
- If it is a gas heater, keep the air intake vents at the bottom or sides of the unit clean and clear of objects.
- Checking the pilot light is always a good idea if you have a gas water heater. Make sure the pilot light is lit. There could be burner issues, pilot light issues, or a problem with the thermocoupler.
- Electricity is used to heat the water in an electric water heater, and this happens through a heavy-duty electrical circuit. Check the circuit, the elements and thermostats – any of these can cause problems.
- Most water heater thermostats have a reset button. If the water heater is electric, the elements and thermostats may fail.
- A family of six will use more hot water than a single or couple, so there is more wear-and-tear on the tank and its parts.
All manufacturers include a product guide with the water heater. It normally is attached to the unit in an envelope, and it should give simple things to check if you have trouble getting hot water. Most people call in a professional immediately when they have no hot water.
Water heaters are generally a dependable appliance and with proper care will run quietly and efficiently. Schedule a maintenance check with a professional. A professional can keep your system running efficiently.