Once a water heater is installed, it may work fine for a decade or more without needing service. But it’s not something you want to set and forget. Neglect can lead to sudden breakdowns due to issues that routine maintenance would have resolved. Costly repairs may be necessary as well. To avoid such circumstances, here are some suggestions we have that can help Houston water heaters last longer.
Test the Temperature Pressure Relief Valve
The TRP valve is designed to open if there’s too much heat or pressure in the water heater. Therefore, it prevents explosions and equipment damage. Sediment or residue can block the valve, so check it a few times a year by turning off the gas or electricity and opening and closing the valve a few times. If the valve is working properly, it will release water. Replace the valve if you don’t see any water flowing from it.
Inspect the Anode Rod
The anode rod in your water heater tank attracts calcium and other minerals in the water supply. Without it, these minerals will form corrosive sediment inside the tank. The sacrificial rod wears out in the process, so it must be replaced every three to five years. Check it annually to make sure it’s still protecting your water heater.
To access the anode rod, turn off the gas or electricity, drain a few gallons of water from the tank, and loosen the hex nut atop the tank. The rod is directly attached to this nut. It has a core wire that will be largely exposed if the rod has worn out. A thick layer of deposits also means it’s time to replace this vital component.
Insulate the Water Heater Tank
In Houston, water heaters aren’t exposed to cold temperatures as frequently as in other locations. But a lack of insulation will reduce efficiency. Fortunately, it’s easy to insulate a water heater tank with a specialized insulation blanket. You can improve the appliance’s energy efficiency by up to 40%.
Have Your Water Heater Tank Flushed Annually
Most water heater manufacturers recommend flushing the tank once a year. If you’re comfortable doing so, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for completing this procedure. Generally, this involves the following steps:
- Turn off the gas valve (for a gas water heater)
- Turn off the power switch and circuit breaker (for an electric water heater)
- Shut off the cold water
- Open a nearby hot water faucet
- Connect a drain and the heater’s drain valve with a hose
- Open the drain valve until the tank is empty
- Turn the cold water back on again
- Let the water run for five to ten minutes
- Close the drain valve and open a hot water faucet to refill the tank
As the tank is draining, the sediment should drain along with the water. Don’t worry if it’s a little thick and discolored at first. The water should become clearer as it continues to flow. If the valve starts to clog up, turn the cold water on and off to loosen any buildup.
When flushing a water heater, the process can be repeated several times until the water is clear and you’re sure there’s no more sediment in the tank.
Schedule Regular Maintenance with Your Local Plumbing Company
You can also hire a technician to flush your water heater, check on the anode rod, and look for other issues. They can find smaller problems before your water heater needs big repairs. A tune-up can counter the effects of corrosive minerals and normal wear and tear, extending the life of the unit. Maintenance can also keep your water heater warranty valid, so repairs are covered when you need them.
Call Village Plumbing to Service Your Houston Water Heater
Our team specializes in water heater repair and installation in Houston, TX. We also service water heaters to prevent repairs, extend the life of equipment, and save you money. To schedule professional service that can help your water heater last longer, request a service appointment online or call 713-526-1491 today.