Gone are the days when water needed to be heated over an open fire. Today, homes are equipped with water heaters powered by electricity or gas. The water heater supplies hot water to the entire home. To keep it functioning properly and efficiently, homeowners in Orange County, Anaheim, and surrounding areas should take the following maintenance steps.
- Test the TPR valve
Begin by shutting off the power and the cold-water supply valve. Then, place a bucket under the pipe attached to the temperature-pressure-release (TPR) valve. Lift the tab on the valve to release some water and then let go. If the water continues to flow, partially drain the tank, use a pipe wrench to unscrew the old valve, and install a new one.
- Inspect the anode rod
Place a hose next to the tank’s drain cock and release a few gallons of water. Then, unscrew the rod and check to see if it’s less than ½ inch or coated with calcium. If it is, replace it.
- Drain the tank
Drain the water heater entirely and stir up the sediment gathered at the bottom of the tank by briefly opening the cold water supply valve. Repeat this until the water coming out of the hose is clean. Finish cleaning the tank by closing the drain cock, refilling the tank, and turning the power back on.
- Check the temperature
Check to make sure the water heater temperature is set to 120℉. If you’ll be out of town for more than three days, consider lowering the temperature to the lowest setting to save on energy costs.
- Insulate the pipes
Purchase foam pipe insulation that matches the water heater pipes’ diameter. Insulate the hot- and cold-water pipes to prevent condensation. If the pipe is six inches or less away from the flue, cover it with a one inch thick unfaced fiberglass pipe wrap.
- Insulate the heater
The last step is to cover the heater with an insulating blanket that fits around pipes, the TPR valve, and the temperature control. Once the entire tank has been wrapped, seal the cuts with foil tape. Avoid covering the tops of oil or gas heaters.