On those chilly December mornings or freezing February nights, we’re thankful that our traditional or tankless water heaters provide us with hot water. But if you don’t take proper care of your system, you may find that you need emergency hot water heater repair in the dead of winter. If you’ve just paid for hot water heater replacement or want to increase the longevity of your current system, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure your system is working to its full potential. Even worse, a faulty heater could pose a safety risk to your family.
To keep you, your family, and your water safe and warm all year long, here are a few hot water heater maintenance dos and don’ts to follow:
- Follow temperature guidelines
While we all like a nice hot shower in the morning, setting your water heater too high can have serious consequences. The temperature of your hot water heater should never exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go above 120 degrees, you or your children could be scalded and suffer serious burns. Safety first!
- Going away? Lower the temp
If you’re going away on vacation this winter, you should adjust the heater’s temperature to its lowest setting. Doing so will save you money on your monthly bills and reduce the risk of any heater-related problems while you’re away from home. Just remember to turn it back up when you return.
- Flush and test once a year
To avoid premature hot water heater replacement, you should flush out water through the drain valve at least once per year. This will help to remove sediment build-up, which can clog your system. You should also test the safety relief once a year to make sure your heater won’t over-pressurize or exceed proper temperatures.
- Leave children unattended
Not only can scalding water hurt your kids, but so can their proximity to the heater itself. Never leave children (or pets) unattended around your hot water heater. Make sure the area is off-limits and that kids understand never to touch or play around the heater.
- Store items around your heater
Whether your hot water heater installation is old or new, storing items around it poses a huge hazard. Combustible materials need to be placed at least 18 inches away from your water heater. If flammable items are placed closer than that, they can catch fire and do extensive damage to your home. To be on the safe side, we don’t recommend storing anything near your water heater.
- Wait to address problems
If you notice a problem with your hot water heater, there’s no chance it will magically go away. In fact, it’s only going to get worse with time. Putting off repairs will often result in emergency situations, so you should always get these issues fixed or inspected right away. The last thing you want is to take a freezing cold shower in the middle of February! Remember: don’t wait to call for repairs or inspections.
In fact, don’t delay to fix problems with your plumbing system, period. After all, 10% of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons of water or more each day. That can have a huge impact on your monthly bills and your home itself. If you’re in need of hot water heater replacement or plumbing repairs this winter, call a trusted local plumber right away.