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Water Heater Maintenance

Protect your comfort and wallet! Regular tune-ups ensure peak performance, prevent costly breakdowns, and extend your heater's life. Read below for common maintenance solutions.

1. Drain sediment build-up from the water heater

As previously mentioned, the hot water tank can build up sediment at the bottom of the tank over a period leading to several different problems. The solution to this is flushing your tank using the tank drain valve. These sediments can be removed, and questions can be avoided. Cleaning a tank is something you can do at home by adhering to the following steps:

  • Turn gas pilot control valve to the “pilot” setting.

  • Shut-off the cold-water supply to the water heater.

  • Open the nearest hot-water faucet.

  • Attach a garden hose to the drain valve and place the hose’s open end in a utility sink or floor drain.

  • Open the tank drain valve.

  • Allow all water to drain out of the water heater tank (you will most likely see discolored water flowing out of the tank, that’s the sediment mixed in with the water).

  • Once the tank is empty, shut the tank drain valve.

  • Open the cold-water supply valve to refill the tank.

  • Turn the gas control valve to the ON position.

  • Check to make sure the burner ignites.

2. Test the temperature-pressure release (TPR) valve

This type of testing should be performed on an annual basis.

  • Shut-off the power and the cold-water supply valve

  • Place a bucket under the pipe connected to the temperature-pressure release (TPR) valve on the top or side of the tank. Remember, this is the valve that opens if the tank pressure gets too high.

  • Lift the valve’s tab to let some water out, then let go. If the water continues to flow, partially drain the tank, unscrew the old valve with a pipe wrench, and install a new one.

3. Check the anode rod

An anode rod is a temporary steel core wire containing magnesium, aluminum, or zinc around it. It’s there to protect the metal lining inside your water heater tank to prevent explosion or corrosion over time.

  • Attach a hose to the tank’s drain cock and let out a few gallons of water.

  • Fit a 1 1/16-inch sock onto the rod’s hex head on top of the heater and unscrew the rod. (If it’s less than ½ inch thick or coated with calcium, purchase a new one. Wrap its threads with Teflon tape. Put it back in the tank and tighten it securely. Use this segmented rod if the headroom above the tank is tight.

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