We all enjoy a nice hot (or at least warm) shower, probably at least once a day. Even though hot water is vital to our daily lives, most of us do not give our faithful friend the water heater a passing thought. That is, however, until the moment it breaks down, denying us that aforementioned hot shower, not to mention the ability to wash dishes, clothes, etc! Water heaters, unfortunately, don’t have infinite lives, and can be somewhat costly to replace when they do break down beyond repair. There are, however, two small routine water heater maintenance tasks that, when addressed correctly, can help the water heater not only do its job more efficiently, but also add years to the life of your water heater.
All water has some level of sediment, most often in the form of rust or alkaline impurities which will build up inside the tank. Over time, this accumulation impedes the transmission of heat to the water, thereby making the heating unit work harder, decreasing the efficiency of the water heater. The sediment settles near the bottom of the tank, and can be easily removed by opening the drain valve, or spigot, located near the bottom of the tank. You should collect any cloudy water into a bucket and then discard (we recommend dumping it outside, rather than into another indoor plumbing element). Since the amount of sediment varies depending upon the quality of the water in your municipality, we suggest checking it monthly initially. Ultimately, you should notice only about a bucketful of cloudy water being extracted each time.
Second, water heaters have a relief valve which we recommend be checked periodically. The relief valve is a back up safety measure that comes into play in the event the thermostat malfunctions. In the rare event that your water heater experiences a dangerous rise in temperature, the valve releases overheated water before it can boil into steam where it could potentially cause an explosion of the water heater. To check this valve, simply place a bucket underneath the overflow pipe of your water heater and toggle the lever on the relief valve at the top of the tank.
If you aren’t comfortable performing this basic maintenance, or you want your water heater checked and serviced, please give Tallon Services a call at (970) 381-4493 or contact us via email, and one of our friendly, experienced, and professional technicians will be happy to do it for you, or help you with any other plumbing concerns you may have.