Like any mechanical device, a water heater requires regular inspections and maintenance to keep it operating safely and reliably. With regular maintenance you can also keep your water heater running longer by extending the life of the tank and other components.
Tank-Style Water Heater Maintenance
A conventional tank-style water heater will typically last for 8-10 years. However, without routine maintenance sediment and rust can accumulate, shortening the life of the water heater while also wasting energy. To keep your water heater in good condition for the long run, Air Specialties recommends following these water heater maintenance steps at least once a year.
Drain out the water heater tank to remove sediment. This is particularly important if you have hard water in your home. Attach a hose to the drain valve located at the bottom of the tank. Before opening the drain valve ensure the opposite end of the hose is outside or near a floor drain. Be careful, as the water may be very hot. If you’re not sure how to flush your water heater, call Air Specialties. An experienced plumber can advise you on the best way to drain your water heater tank.
- Check for water leaks, pinholes rusting around the exterior of the water heater.
- For natural gas water heaters, inspect the flue to ensure exhaust fumes are venting outside by striking a match next to the flue housing. The smoke should drift out through the exhaust flue.
- Test the relief valve by putting a bucket beneath the drain pipe and opening the valve. Water should flow freely when the valve is opened.
- Ensure that the thermostat is set to between 120 and 125 degrees. It should not be set above 125 degrees. We recommend keeping your water heater below 115 degrees if you have have young children in the home.
- Keeping a pan underneath the water heater will make it easier to detect any leaks.
- If you have a gas water heater, check the pilot light to make sure it is burning blue and steady.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
Tankless water heaters are becoming a popular choice for homeowners looking for a more efficient alternative to traditional water heaters. Because water is only heated when it’s needed, it uses much less energy. And with no storage tank, it never runs out of hot water as long as the unit it the proper size for the home’s hot water needs.
Like traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure that they last as long as possible. Spending some time on maintenance yourself, or calling Air Specialties for routine maintenance, will ensure that you are taking advantage of all the cost saving benefits available from your tankless water heater. In addition, most manufacturers require this maintenance as a condition of the unit’s warranty.
1. Inspect and Clean the Screen Filter
Following the manufacturer’s recommended schedule and procedures, inspect and clean the filter located on the water inlet side the tankless water heater. We recommend having a qualified plumber do this job. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, it’s important to learn the proper procedure before attempting this maintenance. Do not use chemicals to clean your tankless water heater, since they will enter your drinking water. Vinegar is a safe, effective cleaner.
2. Flush the System
To prevent the a harmful buildup of lime and scale, flush your tankless water heater periodically according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. As noted above, please be sure to flush it with vinegar and not chemicals that could contaminate your water supply.