Hot Water Heater Maintenance Tips
By Barry Solomon
, last updated February 4, 2011
Your hot water heater is used to give you hot water in your home, and you may want some maintenance tips for keeping it in good shape. Depending on the HVAC system that you have, the energy from the hot water may be used to both heat and cool your home as well. Keeping your hot water heater in proper maintenance is essential for its efficient and effective use as well as preventing costly repairs or premature replacement. It will also substantially reduce your energy costs. Here you will learn some basic tips for maintaining your hot water heater.
First, and above all else, it is critically important to keep your hot water heater clean. Water contains minerals and sediment which tends to deposit on the bottom. This causes the heater to take more time to heat the water and thus to consume greater amounts of energy to achieve the same temperature. In a gas heater, you must regularly clean the sediment, corrosion and scale away.
In an electric hot water heater, the heat is generated by two electrodes. It is important to make sure that you keep the water temperature at no higher than 120 degrees. Scale falls out of the water at temperatures above 120 degrees and will degrade the electrodes. Also, the hotter the water, the more acidic it becomes. Electric heaters have a special sacrificial anode inside the tank. It will be eaten away so that the walls of your heater are not degraded by the acid. If the anode rod is sufficiently deteriorated, you must replace it. Consult your hardware supply store to make sure you get the right one.
At least once a year you should drain and flush the tank. Turn off the gas or electric energy supply and disconnect the water feed to the tank. Then, open the drain plug on the bottom of the tank and proceed to drain out all of the water. Now, reconnect and open the cold water supply to the tank to fill it and to flush out all of the sediment. Once the tank is filled, reconnect the energy supply to the tank. It will now function more efficiently and save you energy costs. It will also last longer!