Water Heater How-To’s — and What NOT to Do!

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A water heater may be an appliance we rarely think of but when things go wrong the whole house can suffer. Water heaters are one of the largest sources of water in a home. When they leak, gallons of water can damage floors, seep into crawl spaces, and even cause mold and mildew if not cleaned up properly. This winter blog discusses some of the dos and dont’s when it comes to water heater repairs.

Routine Water Heater Maintenance

1. Check the thermostat setting

This easy chore can save you a ton of money each year. Determine what is “hot” for water in your household. This includes the kitchen and water for bathing. Then set your water heater’s thermostat. To do that simply look at the controls on the heater. There will be a dial that indicates water temperature. It may only be marked with terms such as “Vacation” with an arrow that shows you which direction to turn the dial to increase or decrease the temperature.

When there are no physical numbers present, adjust the dial slowly and test the water temperature the next day. Adjust accordingly until you reach the right temperature zone. It’s handy to mark that spot with a permanent marker pen by placing a tic-line across the dial and the face of the thermostat. Learn more about how much money you can save each year by adjusting your water heater’s thermostat at Energy.gov.

2. Do not adjust the dial quickly 

Doing so causes the water to heat and scalding can occur during bathing or at the kitchen sink. Always adjust the dial in small increments that are about the diameter of the width of two nickels.

3. Drain test your water heater annually

A drain test is another easy maintenance tip that helps flush out built-up sediments that accumulate in your water heater. Those sediments can cause your heater’s tank to rot or cause metallic stains in your sinks and tubs.

To drain the water heater turn off the cold water intake. A short, common garden hose is all you need. Attach the hose to the drain valve and put the other end into a 5-gallon bucket. You will want to fill the bucket up 1-2 times. To do so, open the drain valve and watch as the water fills the bucket. If the water is cloudy, shut off the drain valve and empty the bucket. Try again. If the water in the bucket remains cloudy, shut off the drain and turn on the cold water supply. The intake of fresh water will stir up all of the sediment and you can continue until the water in the bucket is clear. Learn more about extending the life of your water heater by annually flushing it at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Always replace the water that is drained after the second bucketful. Running the tank dry can cause severe damage to the heating elements, the tanks liner, and even the burner.

For service and maintenance for your water heater contact the professionals at Denton Roto-Rooter. We offer a full line of water heater services including regular maintenance and repairs.