Charlotte Plumber: Do You Need to Perform Maintenance on Your Water Heater?
If your hot water heater is exhibiting signs of damage or failure, it’s best to call a professional as soon as possible. However, in the interim, to have a well-functioning heater requires regular maintenance just like your car does. So, once a year, it’s best to check out your heater and perform the following small maintenance tasks. Before doing anything with your heater though, you must turn off the breaker or gas powering the heater.
The anode rod in your hot water heater is there to protect the metal of the heater from rusting. It receives the preferential corrosion as described in the process of galvanic corrosion (two metals, add water – something’s gotta give), thereby saving the other metal, that of your tank.
The rod should be replaced fairly regularly – most last up to five years but depending on your pipes and water, it can be much less. Best practice is to replace annually, or biannually. To access your anode rod, drain some water from your heater (using the drain cock) and loosen the hex bolt on top of the heater to expose the rod. Observe the rod to see how corroded it is or if there is any of the steel cable exposed. Replace as needed.
This is an easy task, as you are simply testing the efficacy of an emergency valve (called the “Temperature Pressure Release”). Place a bucket underneath the valve on the side of the tank and open it for a few moments. Once you close it again, the water should cease immediately. If it keeps running, replace the valve.
Drain n’ Wash
Over time, gunk and sediment will accumulate in your tank. To combat this, you must drain and rinse (with cold water) once or twice in order to clear out most of the mess. Simply attach a hose to the drain cock and make sure the other end is somewhere that water of varying temperatures and cleanliness can go, and let it rip. After it’s drained, use the cold water supply valve to fill and drain again, until the water comes clean. Then refill all the way and power up!
You should also ensure that the temperature is set to a cozy 120 degrees.
Need a Charlotte Plumber?
If you don’t feel capable of performing this maintenance, it’s best to call a professional. At ER Plumbing Services, we are highly skilled in all things water heater related – you can call anytime, day or night at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form.