Thursday, February 5, 2015

Maintain Your Water Heater

Maintain Your Water Heater
Water heater maintenance is important for extending the life of the unit, for ensuring a steady supply of heated water and for preventing damaging floods. Hot water heater maintenance varies slightly between gas and electric models, as do tips for troubleshooting problems. Although a professional plumbing technician is required for some maintenance services, others you may easily handle yourself. Read on for professional tips for taking care of your system.

Maintaining Electric Water Heaters
Sediment is the enemy of all water heaters, but even more so for the electric type. Electric models use electrodes to generate heat, but when these become coated with sediment and scale, they lose effectiveness and eventually fail altogether. The most effective way to avoid this problem is to periodically drain and flush the tank. Follow your owner's manual to complete this process and take great care to turn the power off before attempting any maintenance. Try lowering the temperature to below 120 degrees as well, as this will reduce the amount of scale released from the water, extending the life of the tank and its components.

Maintaining Gas Water Heaters
With a gas-powered model, sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank, reducing its capacity and the amount of heated H2O at your disposal. This buildup will also increase the time it takes to heat the water and will thus use more energy.

Draining and flushing a gas model is significantly more complex, however, thanks to the volatile and dangerous nature of the natural gas that powers it. Only undertake the flushing process if you have experience or are familiar with natural gas and its dangers. Otherwise, contact a plumber for this service. Other easier tasks include adding insulation around the tank and keeping debris and clutter at least two feet away from the unit at all times.

Troubleshooting Your Water Heater
Funny sounds or noises, reduced amounts of hot water or an unexplained spike in your power bill can all be signs of trouble. If you have not been diligent with periodic maintenance, your unit may be about to experience a catastrophic failure. Before it breaks and causes a costly flood inside your home, request a plumbing service call. If you neglect the problem, it may get worse. It is difficult to know what to do when water heater leaks appear, unless you can identify their exact source. A leaky tank means risking significant flooding in your home or at your business. Turn off the water to the unit or, if necessary, shut off the main valve to the building. If you are unable to identify the source of the leak, it will be necessary to contact a plumber.

Water heater maintenance service, when performed by a professional plumbing contractor, will help prevent premature tank failure and costly damage. Find a licensed plumbing contractor in your area and inquire about periodic inspection and maintenance service for your system and related plumbing features. While the technician is working on your system, be sure to ask for his or her professional water heater maintenance tips.

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About the Author
Jillynn Stevens, Ph.D., MSW is a writer and the Digital Marketing Content Director at Be Locally SEO where she is passionate about helping small and medium sized businesses expand their online presense and realize unprecedented success.

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