There are several aspects to maintaining a water heater so that it performs to the best of its ability. In addition, water heater maintenance will allow peace of mind and prevent troubleshooting in the future. The assurance that everything is functioning properly is important for any type of water heater, from gas to electric and solar to tankless. What are the most important parts to maintain on all water heaters?
Before performing maintenance on an electric water heater, make certain the power is off. It should be turned off at the breaker. This is extremely important as a safety precaution. If you are unsure on any aspect of maintenance, please use the service of an engineer.
Water Heater Maintenance Advice by Expert:
The water supply to the tank should be closed and next you will be ready to attach a hose to the drain valve. This will allow you to drain the water heater tank, which is recommended to clean debris from the tank on a regular basis. Often sediment and other debris will reduce the life of the water heater tank if it is not cleaned out on a regular basis. Before opening the drain valve, turn on a hot water faucet somewhere else in the home and this will reduce the vacuum effect.
Maintaining an Electric Water Heater
The hot water can be drained outdoors and once the tank is empty, the input water can be turned back on and this will help to flush anything that is left in the tank out. When the water coming out is clear, you can close the input water line and remove the hose that is connected to the drain valve. Turn the input water on again and let the water tank fill with water before turning on the power. This reduces the risk of damaging the heating elements.
Test the pressure relief valve by following the instructions for your particular model. The instructions will often be on a tag near the pressure relief valve. If they are not, they will be in the instruction manual that came with the unit. Each model and type has specific tips that are recommended for that particular unit.
Inspect the heating elements for scale that can build up, often causing noises when the water is heating. These should be cleaned or replaced and this will eliminate the noise and provide better efficiency when it comes to heating water. The anode rod or rods (some models have two) should also be inspected. They corrode according to the amount of certain elements present in the water. They should be replaced as needed.
Gas Water Heater Maintenance
Checking the airflow to the burner, keeping items that could be flammable away from the water heater and checking the pilot light to ensure it is burning correctly are part of the routine maintenance. Your instruction manual will tell you what the burning pattern of the water heater should look like.
Draining is similar to an electric model other than turning off the gas to the water heater. Make sure the pilot light goes out, as this means there is no more gas going to the appliance. Following the same procedures as outlined for the electric water heater, the gas water heater can now be drained.
Usually a gas water heating appliance should be checked about every two weeks when it comes to the connections and the venting. This will allow you to know immediately if there are any gas leaks, which could be potentially dangerous. Read the instruction manual for your particular model. The tips that are given within the manual are very specific to the model of the water heater you own.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
Maintenance on tankless water heaters is simple compared to other types. Checking the inline filter to the tank for debris is one of the maintenance precautions you can take to ensure maximum water flow. Turn off the unit, close the feed line valve and look at your owner’s manual for instruction on how to remove the inline filter. Since there are several types, you will need to know how to remove the one that is specific to your model.
Tankless water heaters can also be flushed on a regular basis. Connecting a hose to the drain valve and draining all the water and flushing it with fresh water will remove anything that may reduce the flow rate of the unit. Since debris that can interfere with the flow of water from the tankless appliance can damage it, this maintenance should be performed on a regular basis.
A regular part of the maintenance of a solar water heater is checking the solar panels. Make certain the panels are not shaded at any time during the day. If they are, moving them is recommended or cutting any tree branches if they are in the way. Solar panels also need to be kept free of debris and other items that may blow onto them. Leaves and other wind-blown particles should be cleaned off so they can perform at the best level.
Solar Water Heater Maintenance
Check the wiring connection and the plumbing connections to make sure everything is connected as it should be. The instruction manual will tell you what to look for and if you are not certain about electrical connections, an electrician should be consulted.
Drain the solar water heater by shutting off the power supply first and then attaching a drain hose. Run water through the tank after it is emptied of the water that was originally in it and this will clear out any debris that may have become built up in the tank. After this has been done and the tank fills back up with water, you can turn the power supply on.
Sediment Flush Kits Sediment flush kits are available for controlling the buildup that can occur in the bottom of a water heater tank that can harm the unit. The kit contains a curved dip tube, a ball-valve assembly with cap and pipe thread seal tape. The kit is a better option than using a drain pan.
Using the curved dip tube and the drain assembly will swirl the water and sediment in the bottom of the tank and flush it out. The ball-valve has a large opening and allows bigger pieces of sediment to be flushed out and keeps them from clogging the tank.
Preserving the life of the tank and allowing energy costs to be kept at a minimum can be accomplished by doing regular water heater maintenance checks. Do read other informative guides by experts on Water Heater Reviewer.