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Four Dependable Maintenance Tips for an Efficient Water Heater In Fall & Winter

Summer's over, and colder weather is on its way. It's time to turn your attention to all the yard work and outdoor maintenance needed to get your house ready for the fall and winter. But there are also a few jobs to be done inside your home, including maintenance on your water heater. By completing a few easy tasks, you can help reduce your energy costs and prolong its life.

Check the Pressure Release Valve

Put a bucket under the drain tube and open the valve to let some water out. If no water comes out, even if it's only a trickle, or if the water continues to run after you shut the valve off, you will need a new one. The old valve should come off with a standard plumbing wrench. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads before installing the new pressure valve.

Look At the Anode Rod

Inside your hot water tank, there's a rod made of aluminum or magnesium that's designed to prevent the corrosion of your heater’s metal lining by rusting first. Drain a few gallons from the tank, and then loosen the rod's hex bolt head located on top of your tank with a 1 1/16-inch socket. An impact wrench may be required for tougher jobs. Retrieve the rod and, if it has rusted and is less than ½ inch in diameter, install a new one, wrapping Teflon tape around it first.

Flush the Tank

After a few years of use, it's normal for some grit and sediment to settle at the bottom of your water heater. That accumulation can impede its proper functioning and cost you more on your energy bills. You can remove the sediment by draining the tank. Attach a garden hose to the drain valve near the bottom of your heater and place the other end in a floor drain or outside. Turn a hot water tap on somewhere in the house then open the drain valve. Once the tank is empty, reopen the water intake valve for a few seconds to stir up the remaining settlement and repeat until the water comes out clean.

Adjust the Temperature

For greater energy savings and to avoid burns, we recommend setting the thermostat on your water heater to 120°F. And, for every 10° lower that you set your thermostat, you could achieve up to 5% savings in energy costs.

If you'd like to conserve even more energy, you can add a layer of insulation to your water heater and pipes. Foil insulating blanket and self-adhesive foam pipe insulation can be purchased at any home improvement center.

For more energy-saving advice, or to get some professional assistance with your water heater maintenance, call the pros at Cajun Maintenance in East Baton Rouge Parish, LA today at (225)-372-2444.