5 Maintenance Tips to Prevent Water Heater Trouble in Fall & Winter

There are five things that you should do every fall and winter to get your water heater ready for the coming months, but if you aren’t sure where to start, it can seem like a very daunting DIY project.

But these maintenance steps are very important, and that’s why the discussion today will focus on preventing water heater trouble this fall and winter.

1. Putting an End to Rust

There are two ways that you can prevent rust from damaging your water heater tank, but the most important is the anode rod. This is a metal rod that sits in the tank with the water, attracting elements that would otherwise corrode the tank. The anode rod needs annual inspections and will need to be replaced every five years or so.

What to look for: Corrosion on the rod—when it’s fully corroded, it needs to be replaced.

2. Removing Bacteria from the Tank

The second way you can prevent rust in the tank will also prevent bacteria from flourishing in your water, and this is the flushing process. Every year, you should empty the water from the tank to get rid of sediment, flush it out with clean water, and then refill the tank with fresh water.

Damage prevention tip: Before flushing the tank, shut off the water, shut off the power, and open the temperature and pressure relief valve.

Eco tip: If you want to save the water from inside the tank, drain it into a reservoir or rain barrel to use later in the garden.

3. Getting the Water Temperature Just Right

One of the most important things you can do to ensure the safety of your family is to set your water heater to the right temperature.

Bacteria that’s naturally occurring in the water and bacteria that can grow because of the sediment in the tank can grow in your household water if the temperature isn’t high enough.

To kill bacteria, make sure your water heater is set to 140 F. Any lower and bacteria could thrive, but any higher and you risk burning skin.

4. Keeping the Heat Where It Belongs

You spend a lot of money keeping the water in your water heater hot, and the last thing you need is to throw that money away through energy loss. When the tank isn’t insulated properly, heat gets lost through the metal, and you have to spend more keeping it at the right temperature.

Similarly, if the pipes aren’t insulated, heat will be lost when the water travels through the pipes to the taps. You can prevent this by outfitting the tank with an insulating blanket or jacket, and the pipes with insulating sleeves.

5. Ensuring the Unit Can Relieve Pressure

One of the most important things you can do this fall and winter to keep your family safe is to test the temperature and pressure relief valve on your water heater. This is the safety mechanism that allows the unit to regulate the pressure when it becomes too high. You should be testing this valve monthly, and have a professional in to replace it immediately if it ever fails.

Preventing damage to your water heater, keeping your family safe, and saving money are all very attainable goals. With these annual fall and winter maintenance steps, you can extend the life of your water heater and keep it running efficiently for many years. For help with this or any other plumbing issue, call All Types Plumbing, Drain & Rooter Service, in Tooele, UT, today at 435-833-9393.