Everybody needs a little TLC, and that includes your water heater. It’s important to make sure your water heater is running smoothly and efficiently for your Western New York home. See if you can answer “yes” to the questions below. If you can’t, check out our suggestions!
Is the water temperature set for 120°F (rather than 140°)? Your water heater was probably preset for 140°F, but the truth is, 120°F is just fine. Those extra 20 degrees can cause scalding—especially for infants or the elderly. Turn it down to 120°F for water that’s hot enough for your needs, but safer! An added bonus is that you’ll cut down by up to 10% on your water heating energy costs!
Has your water heater been tuned up this year or last year? Water heaters need tune-ups too! While furnaces and boilers need to be tuned up every year, it’s fine to have your water heater tuned up every other year. But be sure to do it once that second year rolls around! During the tune-up, Hometowne Energy’s technicians can let you know of any bigger concerns and they can assess whether your water heater is due for an upgrade.
Have you flushed your tank lately? If sediment is collecting at the bottom of your water heater, it needs to be flushed out. Sediment causes corrosion and makes it difficult for your system to get its job of heating your water done. It decreases efficiency and costs more for you to run. To flush your tank, follow these steps:
Connect a hose to the drain valve, near the bottom of the tank. Then place the other end of the hose in a floor drain or outside—just make sure it is in a spot where you can drain water.
Cut off your tank’s water supply.
Turn off the water heater power. If you have a propane water heater, be sure to set the thermostat to “pilot.”
Open up your drain valve.
When the tank is empty, turn on the water—briefly—to get the sediment moving. Once it comes up from the bottom of the tank, it will be able to drain.
If the water is running clear, you’re done! Close the drain valve and turn the water heater back to its normal settings. If the water is not yet running clear, repeat the steps above. Then close the drain valve and put the regular settings back on.
Is your tank’s anode rod in good shape? The anode rod has earned itself the nickname of the “sacrificial rod” for good reason: it prevents your tank from corrosion as it draws the corrosion process on itself. This can last for about five years before needing to be replaced, although if you use a water softener, that time will be shorter.
If your anode rod needs to be replaced, take care of it right away. It is much easier and far less expensive than the alternative of having to replace the entire tank due to corrosion and subsequent tank failure. To learn exactly how to check and change your anode rod, check the manual for your tank.
Have you insulated your tank? You can reduce heat loss—and make your water heater more efficient—with the addition of an insulating blanket on your tank and around your pipes. You’ll subject your water heater to less wear and tear and save on energy! Your water heater manufacturer can provide specific info about the proper insulating blanket, depending on the model of your unit.