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6 Water Heater Tips to Help Keep your Water Hot and Your Bills Low

Posted by Tingey Plumbing, Heating & Air
on 25 May 2016
Old Water Heater

Blog Highlights:

  • Simple annual checkups can help homeowners extend the life of their water heaters
  • Knowing where the water heater is placed is crucial so that you can access it right away when you need to
  • Having as much information about your water heater can help you avail of warranties and it can also help plumbers during repairs and installations
  • Homeowners should know how to shut-off the water supply, the gas supply, or turn-off the breaker boxes of their water heaters
  • Keeping items and objects away from the water heater can help prevent fires from happening and it can also help maintain efficiency
  • Having sediments and debris inside the tank will mean that your water heater needs a full flushing

 

Through simple annual checkups, homeowners can help extend the life of their water heaters and make sure that it runs as efficiently as possible.

Homeowners should know that there are things that they can do to help ensure the performance and condition of their water heaters. By following these useful tips, you can increase your tank’s life expectancy, lessen energy consumption, as well as avoid damages caused by leakages.

1. Know exactly where the heater is placed

People who have recently bought a house should know exactly where the water heater can be found. Homeowners should have unobstructed access to it, the plumbing must be easy to reach and it should not be tucked into a basement or attic.

2. Know the water heater type

Homeowners should know exactly what type of water heater they have. Water heaters can be powered by propane, natural gas, or electricity. There are also tank-less or storage tank type water heaters. Better yet, homeowners should have a copy of all the important information that is on the water heater, this includes the model number, serial number, and capacity. This can help you avail of warranties as well as provide important facts about your heater to plumbers who are called to do repairs.

3. Know how to shut-off the water heater

Homeowners should also know how to turn off the water, the fuel, or the power supply of their water heaters. In the event of an emergency, a leakage, or upon detection of gas odors, it will allow the homeowner to safely turn off the water heater. In typical installations, there should be a disconnect switch near the water heater, the gas valve should also be located a few feet away from the heater. Homeowners should also be well aware of the location of the main shut-off valve for the gas as well as where the breaker is for the water heater.

The water shut-off valve are typically located above the water heater, they are usually installed on the cold side of the pipes. It is important for homeowners to know where the water shut-off valve can be found as it goes into the home. Homeowners should also know whether they need tools when it comes to opening breaker boxes or valves beforehand so that they can prepare ahead of time before emergencies occur. Familiarizing yourself with these parts will make a lot of difference especially when gas or water starts to leak and you need to act on the problem right away.

4. Remove obstructions around the water heater

Here’s why you need to give your water heater a lot of space:

  • Gas-fired water heaters need an ample amount of oxygen to burn the gas efficiently. Putting a lot of things around this type of heater will smother it, causing it to function below the optimum conditions and making it susceptible to damage and to carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Putting objects that will hide the heater from view can prevent homeowners from immediately noticing any problems on the heater. This can lead to severe water damage and to wastage of energy especially when leaks are left unfixed for prolonged periods of time.
  • Heat is an integral part of the system. Obviously, putting objects too close to the heater can put your house at risk for fire.

5. Drain your water heater annually

Draining or flushing the water heater once a year can help your heater run properly. You need to drain a few gallons from your water heater through the drain valve. You can use a large bucket or a hose so you can dispose of the hot water properly. Just make sure that you do not pour it directly on the grass or on your garden.
The presence of debris or sediments will tell you that you need to schedule your water heater for a full flush. You can do this by turning the temperature down and by draining the tank completely. You can then turn the water on with the drain still open in order to remove any remaining debris.

Refill the tank and turn the thermostat back to the proper setting afterwards.

6. Schedule the unit for an annual water heater inspection

The inspection should begin with checking for any signs of leakage or corrosion on the pipes and valves located on top of the water heater. Check the draft hood if it is placed properly and try to see if there are a few inches of air space between the tank and the vent. Carefully trace the pipes and the gas line while you look for any signs of corrosion. You should also inspect the thermostat as well as the gas chamber below it.

The presence of soot, charred metal, or black residue is a sign of combustion problems. The presence of gas odors can be a sign of danger, you need to shut-off the gas supply right away. Electric water heaters on the other hand, can have rust streaks and residue on the panels and on the electrical components of the water heater tank whenever it starts to deteriorate. These problems and tell-tale signs should only be dealt with and repaired by a professional.