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Have You Checked Your Water Heater Lately? Here Are 5 Tips to Get It Ready For Fall & Winter

Have You Checked Your Water Heater Lately? Here Are 5 Tips to Get It Ready For Fall & Winter

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Most people take their water heater for granted. They just expect that every time they step into the shower, there will be plenty of hot water. And that's just how it should be. But there are a few simple tasks that you can do to help to prolong its life and save you some money as well.

1 - Test the TPR Valve

The TPR, or temperature and pressure release valve, is a crucial safety feature that’s designed to release built-up pressure inside the tank should it get too elevated. With a bucket or container under the drain tube, lift the tab on the valve. If no water comes out, or just a trickle, the valve may be damaged. It will also need to be replaced if water continues to flow after the valve has been closed.

Drain a few gallons from the tank and remove the valve using a standard plumbing wrench. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of the new valve and secure tightly to the tank.

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2 - Check the Anode Rod

A significant rust prevention tool in your tank, the anode rod needs to be replaced if it has corroded too much. You'll find the rod's hexagonal head on top of the tank. With a few gallons removed from the tank, loosen it to remove the rod. It will need to be replaced if the rod has shrunk to less than half an inch in diameter. Wrap Teflon tape around the new rod before installing it tightly in the tank.

3 - Cleaning Out the Tank

After a few years of use, some sediment can settle at the bottom of your water heater making it less efficient and costing you more to heat your water. You can get rid of that sand and grit by flushing out the tank. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve near the bottom of your water heater and place the other hand on the ground outside. Open the drain valve to empty the tank. To help drain it faster, you can turn a hot water tap on nearby.

4 - Insulate the Tank

You can help your water heater hold on to the heat inside by wrapping its sides with a foil insulation blanket. Carefully cut around the thermostat, pipes, and valves and seal the blanket with foil tape.

You can also help prevent loss in your pipes by insulating as much of them as possible with 3/8” self-adhesive foam insulation.

5 - Adjust the Thermostat

Setting the temperature on a water heater is a bit of a balancing act. Too low and there is a greater risk of waterborne bacteria. Too high and it may be dangerous for scalding, not to mention higher energy costs. We suggest setting the thermostat to 120°F.

If completing these water heater maintenance jobs is a bit more than you're ready to tackle, you can count on an experienced professional from Hall's Plumbing in Woodland, CA to help assist you, call us at (530) 290-1922.