Relaxing in a hot shower or bath is a little luxury you want to ensure is always available. However, we often take our water heater for granted – that is until you are left with nothing but an icy cold supply. Regularly checking and maintaining your water heater can help to prevent a water heater breakdown and keep your water hot all year round. But what should you be checking on your water heater each year to ensure optimum function? Here we look at 5 essential things you should check on your water heater every year.
Water Heater Age and Condition
The age and general condition of your water heater is easy and quick to check, and it can reveal a lot about your water heater. Just like any other appliance, a water heater can wear out over time, becoming less efficient and more problematic. A high quality, well-maintained water heater can last up to 10 years, however, it may need professional servicing. Water heaters that are not good quality, haven’t been well maintained, or that are being used in areas with hard water or sediment may need to be replaced more frequently. Checking the water heater age is a simple way to quickly evaluate your water heater condition, and help you decide if water heater replacement is necessary.
Leaks and Connections
A leaky water heater can mean you need a replacement water heater, or it could simply mean that the connections need to be tightened or replaced. Checking the connections to your water heater once a year can help to prevent leaks or even flooding which could cause damage. If you notice a leak, it’s important to call a plumber experienced with water heaters as soon as possible to establish the cause of the leak. It could be due to a loose inlet or outlet valve, a faulty temperature and pressure valve, or a leaky heating gasket. However, if a tank leak is the cause of water found around your water heater, you will need to replace the water heater.
You should check the temperature of your water heater once yearly in order to establish how efficiently and effectively the thermostat and water heater are functioning. While this method only gives you a general measure of hot water temperature, it is simple to perform. Allow your water heater to work for one hour without using hot water (if it is a storage style heater). Otherwise run your water heater as normal to bring water to the correct temperature. You can then check the water temperature at the faucet nearest to the hot water tank using a candy or cooking thermometer. If you notice a major discrepancy between the water temperature and your thermostat, you may need to call a plumber to help adjust the thermostat.
Check The Anode Rod
The anode rod is a steel wire that is coated with aluminum or magnesium that helps to prevent hot water tank rust. It’s sometimes called the ‘sacrificial’ anode rod, because it’s designed to wear away and rust instead of causing your tank to rust. It’s important to check the anode rod of your water heater to ensure it isn’t worn away or covered with sediment build up. Replace the anode rod if there is more than 6 inches of steel exposed, the entire rod is less than ½ inch thick, or the rod is coated in calcium build up.
Sediment build-up can create issues with water heater tanks in areas of hard water or mineral-rich water supply. Over time, sediment can settle and build up in the bottom of your hot water tank. This can interfere with the function of your hot water tank, eventually compromising the element, thermostat, or inlet and outlet valves. Sediment build-up can be removed by emptying and flushing out the water tank.
Checking your water heater once a year helps to ensure it remains in optimal condition and continues to function effectively. If you notice any issues with your water heater, it’s best to call your local plumber, Magnificent Plumbing as soon as possible for an expert analysis and professional water heater repair.