Perform These Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Water Heater Running Smoothly
Like any appliance, your water heater needs regular maintenance. Unlike other major household systems that vie for your attention, a water heater is often neglected — until it breaks down, that is. To prevent costly repairs, here are a few easy maintenance tips to extend the life of your water heater and ensure you keep getting hot water.
#1: Empty the Water Tank and Remove Sediment
If your water heater makes loud rumbling or banging noises every time you use hot water from a faucet, it’s a sign of sediment build-up in the tank. Most heating experts agree that an annual draining of the tank is essential to keep a water heater in good running condition.
How exactly does sediment develop? Over time, calcium carbonate, a naturally-occurring mineral found in water, forms on the bottom of a water tank.
With constant heating and cooling, this sediment hardens and forms a buffer between the water and the heat source making it very inefficient.
Built-up sediment is not only hard on the overall system by potentially clogging valves and pipes, but it also wastes energy and increases your monthly bills. Completely drain your hot water tank and continue draining until the water is free of sediment. You can do this yourself or a water heater specialist can help.
#2: Use Insulation
A cozy insulation blanket does wonders in preventing unnecessary heat loss. An insulation blanket of R-11 or higher should help make your water heater more efficient. If you have a newer water heater, it may already come with factory-installed insulation. It may not be visible on the exterior, so check the manufacturer’s label for more information.
Older water heaters don’t come with built-in insulation, so if you have an older unit, it’s highly recommended you use insulation as water heaters tend to become less efficient with age and natural wear-and-tear.
#3: Fine-Tune the Temperature
Tweaking the temperature setting on your water heater is important for safety and optimal efficiency. If the temperature is set too high, it can potentially scald young children or the elderly. You’ll also incur higher utility bills. Water heater temperatures set too low may not effectively kill harmful bacteria that can form in the water supply.
So what is an optimal temperature setting for water heaters? Most energy experts suggest setting it to 120 degrees F.
This is just a recommendation of course, but a setting close to this, give or take a few degrees, should keep your household safe and comfortable.
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