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Water Heater Maintenance Tips for Winter

Like other appliances in your home, a little maintenance can help ensure the longevity of your water heater. Annual inspections and tune-ups can spot problems before they start and give you peace of mind as the temperatures begin to drop. The licensed professionals at Cool Air Mechanical are trained to perform annual tune-ups on water heaters and replace parts that could cause problems later. In addition to preventative maintenance, there are a few things you can do to help increase the life of your tank and prevent future system failures. Keep reading to learn more about performing your own water heater maintenance from the experts at Cool Air Mechanical.

Rust is your worst enemy when it comes to water heater maintenance. One way to prevent rust from contaminating your water supply and corroding the inside of your tank is to check the anode rods on a regular basis. The anode rod is a piece of metal that emits and absorbs ions inside your tank. Ion concentrations will vary depending on where you live and whether you use public water or a well. Over time, however, the anode rod can become corroded because of the ions it absorbs. When it reaches this point, it needs to be replaced. To access the old rods, refer to your tank manufacturing guide. Usually, a wrench is enough to remove the rod housing located on the top of the tank. Replace it with a new one if the corrosion is extensive.

If it’s been a while since you’ve replaced the rods, chances are you’re overdue for a tank flush as well. Flushing your water heater tank helps remove bacteria that can containment your water supply as well as removed sediment in the bottom of the tank. To flush your tank, first turn off the power supply going to the tank. Next, turn off the water supply to the house. Carefully open the temperature and pressure relief valves according to your tank’s manufacturer guidelines. Let the water drain out of the tank, attaching a hose to the outlet if you want to run the water away from the house or if you want to recycle it into a rain barrel. Spray inside the tank with clean water then allow it to refill with fresh water. Always refer to your manufacturer’s guide for your model for specific cleaning instructions.

You may be tempted to adjust your water heater’s temperature to save a few dollars, but experts warn against this sort of adjustment. Water temperatures should be set at 140 degrees at all times because this is the temperature at which bacteria dies. Anything lower than 140 and you could be putting your family and your tank at risk. You can help your water heater maintain temperature by adding more insulation to the tank and its pipes. It’s natural for heat loss to occur but the extra padding will help save on energy costs. If you already have insulation around your unit, check it on a regular basis for water damage, mold, and cracks. Exposure to the elements and high heat can cause some insulation to fall apart; replace insulation as needed to reduce the strain on your water heater.

Give the professionals at Cool Air Mechanical a call to schedule an appointment for your water heater.

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