Water Heater Maintenance Plan
Regular maintenance of the water heater should be on every homeowners’ honey do list. This maintenance should be scheduled at the minimum, once a year, depending on the quality of water in the area up to two or three times per year.
- Inspect the electrical and gas connections. If electrical wire connections become loose this could short out the system. Gas connection leaks are dangerous and must to be addressed immediately. Using a mixture of equal parts dish soap and water, generously apply to gas fittings and connections. If bubbles appear, contact a licensed gas technician to repair.
- Inspect the flu pipe. Check to make sure it is properly aligned with the heater exhaust port. Inspect the roof vent to make sure the flu hat is properly in place and all points in between are connected and secure.
- Inspect the anode rod. Anode rods tend to require replacement every five years or so. This part can be removed from the top of the water heater. Be sure to turn off the cold water inlet valve before removing. If the anode rod is begins to look like a worn wire, it needs to be replaced.
- Flush the water heater to remove built up sediment, calcium deposits and other corrosive particles. Be sure to turn the electric or gas off to the water heater. Drain the water heater by connecting a garden hose to the valve located at the bottom of the tank. Water coming directly out of the tank can be very hot, use caution when draining a water heater around small children and pets.
- Inspect your dip tube. The first sign that the dip tube is failing is noticed when hot showers suddenly turn cold.
- Check the temperature and pressure relief valve (T & P). Test the T&P by raising and lowering the test lever on the valve. Frequent testing can reduce the chance of a leak caused by mineral and corrosion buildup. If the valve is touchy and blows off easily. Check the home’s water pressure.
- Check the home’s water pressure. Excessive water pressure can cause damage to plumbing pipes, fixtures and water heaters. According to the International Code Council, a home’s water pressure should be no more than 80psi. Homeowners can check the pressure of their home’s incoming water by turning off all the fixtures in their home and placing a gauge on an exterior hose bib. If the pressure is over 80 psi, a pressure regulating valve (PRV) should be installed or the existing PRV adjusted.
If a homeowner is not comfortable with any of these steps or if their water heater needs to be repaired, it is recommended that a professional water heater installer or licensed plumbing contractor be hired.