A cold shower and a lack of hot water are never pleasant, but in the winter it can be a miserable experience. A hot water heater can be overtaxed by excessive use or fail due to a mechanical or plumbing problem. Here are some tips to help maintain your hot water heater during the cold months and throughout the year.
Check the Water Temperature
Your hot water heater’s temperature gauge should read somewhere between 115 and 120 degrees. If you lower the temperature a few degrees, you will save money on your monthly utility bills.
Test the Pressure Relief Valve
This is a simple way to check the health of your water heater. Find the unit’s pressure relief valve and lift it halfway. When released, the valve should automatically snap back to its original position. If the valve does not go back or is not working properly, then you should have it checked by a professional.
Flush Your System
To keep your unit running optimally, you should flush out your hot water heater every six months or so. A buildup of sediment on the bottom of the tank can reduce the amount of water your water tank can hold. This can cause noises and reduce the overall efficiency of your unit. The buildup can harden, cause rust in the unit, and even clog the drain valve.
You usually cannot do a total flush because the whole system should completely off and the water tank must be full. Review any flushing instructions before you start. You may want to consult or have a professional do this for you if it is beyond your DIY abilities.
Small problems like leaks and low water pressure may indicate a larger problem. You may need to call a plumber who can diagnose and fix the problem.
If your hot water tank stops producing hot water and you smell gas near the tank, then the pilot may have gone out or there you may have a gas leak. If this is the case, open your windows and call your utility company. You should not try to fix the problem yourself.
If you end up needing to replace your hot water heater, consider the green alternative. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand rather than keeping the liquid warm in a tank until it is needed. They conserve energy by only heating just the amount of water needed at a given moment and by heating the water only at the time it is needed.
By making regular checks of your hot water heater and plumbing, you can help prevent larger problems that could leave you without hot water right when you need it the most. Stay warm!
Our Energy Star Qualified hot water heaters meet or exceed the criteria set for Energy Star qualification. To upgrade your system to a tankless water heater, call us at (845) 253-4053. We serve Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Putnam and Rockland Counties.