A Winter Guide to Hot Water Heater Maintenance

The winter season is almost here, which means it’s time to prepare your home for the cooler temperatures. Just like the furnace, homeowners will rely on their gas water heater during the winter season, but your gas water heater is just as strained from use due to the drop in temperature. Proper maintenance for your gas water heater not only ensures you can enjoy heated water throughout the holiday season, but it also prevents a plumbing catastrophe.

How You Can Prepare Your Water Heater this Winter

Flush the Tank

Your water heater works the hardest during the winter season, and over time mineral deposits can settle at the bottom of the tank and break down the water heater. Mineral deposits prevent your gas water heater from operating efficiently and it can clog your water lines. That’s why it’s important to flush your water heater at least twice a year to clean out the mineral deposits.

Check the Pressure Valve

Your gas water heater has a pressure valve called the TPR valve that releases pressure whenever the tank becomes overpressured. To test your TPR valve, life the trip lever on the valve and release it again. You should see some water exit or hear a faint hint of air exiting the valve. If you don’t see anything exit the valve or water just keeps flowing out, you might need to replace the TPR valve. It’s a good idea to check your water heater’s pressure valve every six months to check for clogs or leaks.

Check the Filters

Some water heaters have a filter to catch any problematic debris. Your water heater works best when it’s clear and clean of sediment and debris, which is why it’s important to routinely clean or replace your filters if your gas water heater has one.

Inspect the Thermostat

Some heating problems aren’t caused by the appliances themselves, but a malfunctioning thermostat. A functional thermostat is important for all your heating appliances, as it prevents your gas water heater from overworking itself to keep up with inconsistent temperature settings.

Check the Anode Rod

The anode rod is another important component of your water heater that works to capture any corrosive material in the water. Your gas water heater tank is susceptible to rust and corrosion, which is why it’s important to occasionally check the anode rod. Watch for any calcium deposits, missing parts, or if the rod itself has dissolved to less than half inch thick. Anode rods can last up to 5-10 years, but they can last longer if routinely cleaned.

Adjust the Temperature

The winter season makes it difficult to be energy efficient, especially when you heavily rely on your heating appliances. Adjusting the temperature setting on your gas water heater, however, can save in energy costs and prevents your gas water heater from overheating.

Insulate the Tank and Pipes

Just like the rest of your plumbing this winter season, a little insulation can go a long way. Covering the tank and attached pipes with an insulating material can help to keep the hot water in the pipes warmer for an extended period of time.

Clean the  Vents

Like your furnace, your gas water heater needs proper ventilation in order to function. Snow is a common issue for your gas water heater’s air intake and exhaust vents during the winter season. Snow and other debris can clog inside the vents and cause damages to your gas water heater. Fencing off the snow and installing a metal mesh to keep pests out.

When to Call the Professionals at Stewart Plumbing

If you own a water heater in Memphis, odds are it will need to be repaired or replaced at some point. No one wants to wake up to a cold shower or only have hot water for a few minutes before it runs out. Fortunately, there can be several signs that can warn you that your water heater is on its last leg, including:

  • No hot water.
  • Strange noises.
  • Lukewarm water.
  • Short-lived hot water.
  • Water that is too hot.
  • Water under or around your water heater.
  • Signs of corrosion on the water heater tank.

Don’t wait for your water heater to malfunction completely. Call Stewart Plumbing today to schedule your water heater maintenance! 

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