Hot water heaters can be expensive to replace. Therefore, you should try to follow maintenance tips that will increase its longevity and efficiency over time. They will also cut your energy costs. In this article, I will go over five tips that will benefit you in the long-run when it comes to your hot water heater.
- 1. Make sure the pipes are insulated.
This may seem like a pointless task, but it is important. You can insulate your pipes yourself by purchasing some foam pipe (3/8 inches thick) insulation at your local hardware store. Make sure that you measure your pipes and select the foam that has the correct dimensions.
All you need to do is slide the foam over the water pipes (both cold and hot). Be sure to peel the tape and put it across the insulation as you squeeze it together. By providing insulation, you will prevent condensation in the warmer months, which will be highly beneficial to your water heater.
- 2. Adjust the temperature settings.
Search for the temperature dial on the hot water tank. It is usually located on the side. You most likely will need a screwdriver to unscrew its cover. Once you get the cover off, change the temperature to 120 degrees using a screwdriver. Keep in mind that every 10 degrees that you lower your hot water heater, you will save five percent on energy costs.
When you plan to go on vacation or leave your home for several days turn the hot water heater down to its lowest possible setting before leaving. This will save you energy and money.
- 3. Insulate the water heater itself.
Find an insulating blanket that will fit around the pipes, the temperature control, and the TPR valve. Wrap the tank and seal the cuts with foil tape. Make sure that you NEVER cover the top of the heater if it is an oil or gas heater.
If it is an electric water heater, you can place an oversize circle of insulation on top of it. Tape the edge pieces to the side of the tank.
- 4. Test the Temperature Pressure Release (TPR) valve occasionally.
You should always test the TPR valve occasionally. This valve is what opens when the water tank’s pressure becomes too high. To test it, be sure to shut off the power and the valve that provides the cold-water supply. Set a bucket underneath the pipe that is connected to the TPR valve.
Lift the TPR valve’s tab to begin letting the water out and then let it go. If the water keeps going out, I recommend draining the tank at least halfway. After doing so, unscrew the old valve with a wrench and put in a new one.
- 5. Take a look at the anode rod often.
Point a water hose near the hot water heater’s drain cock and release several gallons of water. Next, try to fit a 1 1/16-inch socket onto the anode rod’s hex head, which can be found on top of the water heater. Then, unscrew the rod. Take a good look to see how the anode rod looks. If it consists of calcium or is less than ½ inch thick, my advice is to purchase a brand new one.
After you have purchased a new one, wrap Teflon tape around its thread, and place it back into the tank. Ensure that it is fully screwed in and on there tight.