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Water Heater Habits

7 Habits of Highly Successful Water Heater Owners

Water Heater Maintenance Tips

Have you thought much about your water heater lately? Most people do not think much about their water heater until they have a problem. Typically the first thing that is noticed is a lack of hot water, and then the investigating begins. Here are 7 tips that can help you become a successful water heater owner and keep you one step ahead so you do not end up spending valuable time dealing with a broken water heater. The benefit of being a successful water heater owner is longer tank life expectancy, lower energy bills, and the potential for little or no damage to occur as a result of water leakage. Also, being prepared with information will make the entire process easier when your tank needs to be repaired or replaced.

1. Know where your water heater is located and have clear access to reach it. This may sound simple, but sometimes it’s tucked away in an attic or basement and not easy to reach and after many years since a water heater is not something people often think about it can be forgotten – until there is no hot water.

2. Know what type of water heater you have, ie. natural gas, electric, propane or solar. Also knowing whether you have a storage tank type (hint: this is the most common type) or a tankless type water heater is helpful. Write down the model number and serial number of your water heater or at least know where this information is on the tank, it has the age and gallon capacity coded into it and is important for warranty purposes.

3. Know how to turn off the fuel or power supply to your water heater, once you know which type of unit you have, make sure you know how to turn off the gas or electricity to the unit. There should be a gas valve or a disconnect switch within a few feet of the water heater. It’s also a good idea to know where your main gas shut off valve is or which breaker is for the water heater in case the shut off near the water heater doesn’t work. If you need any special tools to turn the valves off or to open the break box keep those nearby and in clear sight. When you have water leaking all over it’s easy to panic, especially if it’s causing damage. Doing a little upfront work so you are prepared will make a big difference in this situation.

4. Know where the water shut off valve to the water heater is. Again, if you need special tools to turn the valve off have them nearby along with a stepladder in case the valve is above the water heater and you need to turn the water off quickly. Most shut off valves are located above the water heater on the cold side piping. See our blog post – How to turn off a leaking water if your not sure where your valve is.

5. Make sure the area around your water heater is clear and do not store anything with a few feet of your unit. This is a successful habit for a few reasons. First, if you have a gas fired (natural gas or propane) unit the water heater needs to “breath”. As the burner fires it need oxygen to burn the gas. When a water heater is smothered or does not have enough oxygen it can affect the efficiency of the unit, cause damage to the burner chamber and other water heater parts and even cause carbon monoxide leaks. Second, whether it is gas or electric if the unit starts to leak the water can be hidden from view or soak into what is being stored around it. This can cause a prolonged leak, which has the potential to cause more water damage and cause to water heater to reheat itself more often, wasting energy. Lastly, it is a fire hazard.

6. Drain or flush your water heater and complete an annual inspection. Maintaining your water heater is a very successful habit. It can affect life expectancy, energy efficiency and the safety of the unit over its lifetime. Once a year (maybe more often if there is a lot of sediment in your water) drain a few gallons out of the drain valve of your water heater. Use either a 5-gallon bucket or a garden hose and run it to a place where the hot water will not cause damage (do not drain it to your landscaping or lawn, hot water may kill the grass). If you notice a lot of sediment or debris then we recommend a full flush. This is where you empty the tank completely of water, then turn the water back on while the drain is open and let the water flow for a minute or so to help remove any lingering sediment or debris. For instructions on how to drain a water heater click here. If you are water wise you can turn your thermostat to vacation and let the water cool down – then it can be used for watering and will not damage your plants. It is best to turn the unit to vacation in the morning, say before going to work. Then drain the tank when you come home, once it has refilled turn the thermostat back to the desired setting and you should have hot water in approximately 1 hour. While you are draining or flushing the tank inspect the water heater. Start with the top and check for any leaks or heavy corrosion on the water pipes and the T/P overflow valve. For gas water heaters check that the draft hood is in place and make sure it is placed properly with a few inches of air space between the tank and where the draft hood connects to the vent. Once you have visually inspected the top check around the tank, for electric water heaters look for any signs of leaking, rust streaks or residue around or coming from the upper and/or lower panels covering the electrical components on the tank. If you have a gas water heater inspect the gas line and gas parts look for any corrosion or wear on the piping. Check the thermostat for corrosion or black soot marks. Inspect the area below the gas thermostat where the gas chamber is. If you noticed any back residue, soot or charred metal, this is a sign you may be having combustion issues and you should have the unit serviced by a professional. If you ever smell gas turn off the gas supply and contact a professional. Your visual inspection is complete if everything looks like it is in good shape your done, if you have concerns or think there are items that need service contact your local Water Heaters Only, Inc

7. Keep a Water Heaters Only, Inc emergency shut down sticker on your water heater. When you have problems with your unit, the sticker can help walk you through shutting of the gas and water and it has our 24-hour emergency phone number so you can give us a call if you are not sure what to do next or if you are having a problem with turning anything off. If you need a Water Heaters Only, Inc shut down sticker – email johnheaters@waterheatersonly.com and we are happy to mail one to you.

By John Heaters Google+ | Facebook

11 thoughts on “Water Heater Habits”

    • Your welcome! Thanks for checking out our blog. Please let us know if there are other subjects your interested in!

  1. I liked that you said that one good tip for when you own a water heater is to hire professional maintenance routinely in order to help ensure that it continues to work well. I would imagine that this would be beneficial to have constant hot water. I would be sure to hie a professional regularly to check and service my water heater so that I don’t run into problems.

    • Thank You Ashley, Annual maintenance can sometimes help the lifespan of a water heater. It’s also a good safety practice!

  2. I found it interesting when you said that it is important to know how to turn off the gas unit if the water heater breaks down. My mom called me to let me know that there was a gas odor coming from the water heater. I will suggest to her to contact a professional company that can go and repairs the damages.

  3. I like what you said about a lack of hot water being a sign that something’s wrong with your heater. My sister has been telling me about how her showers have been colder than usual recently. I’ll share this information with her sot that she can look into her options for professionals who can help her with repairs.

    • Thank you, we often find our customers had noticed and lack of hot water shortly before their water heater completely failing. It’s really hard to say just when a water heater will stop working, but less hot water it usually a sign. Thank you for your comment!

  4. I didn’t know that you should make sure that there isn’t anything too close to your water heater since it could prevent your water heater from getting the oxygen it needs to operate efficiently. My wife and I have noticed that our water heater hasn’t been working ever since we installed a washing machine next to it, and we’d like to make sure that the system is functioning properly before we sell our house this summer. Maybe we should find a service that can help us understand why our system isn’t working correctly.

    • Hi Curtis, Thank you for your comment. Yes, it is very important for a gas (natural or propane) water heater to “breath properly”. I see you are outside of our service area, however feel free to give us a call and we’re happy to help with any recommendations. It would be a good idea to ensure there is enough combustion air for the water heater to properly function and limit the possibility of any back-drafting. For both yourself and any potential new homeowners.

    • Thank You William, We love sharing information with our customers! Let us know if you ever have any questions.

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