With all the different systems and components that make up your residential plumbing, it's easy to forget about your water heater maintenance, and therein lies the problem. Neglecting your water heater increases the chance of small, unattended problems turning into big problems. By the time a problem can no longer be ignored, you may require costly repairs to solve it.
The secret to avoiding costly water repair bills is to undertake preventative maintenance on your hot water system. This requires carrying out regular and periodic checks to ensure that any potential and existing water heating issues are caught and remedied early enough.
While the specific tasks that will need to be performed as part of preventative water heater maintenance vary depending on the water heater type, here are some general maintenance tips for your residential gas or electric storage water heater.
Maintain the right water temperature
When it comes to hot water system maintenance, the importance of setting the recommended water temperature should never be overlooked.
Low water temperature heightens the risk of contracting Legionnaires' disease at home, as it encourages Legionella bacteria to inhabit your water. Setting the temperature too high, on the other hand, poses a scalding hazard, wastes energy (and money) and also shortens the lifespan of your unit.
To avoid the various risks associated with incorrect water heater temperature settings, regularly check your water heater thermostat to confirm that it is set correctly. If the thermostat is broken, you'll need to get it replaced.
Flush your water heater
While your domestic water supply might look pure, it contains many dissolved minerals that gradually build up in the bottom of your hot water tank.
As the sediment buildup thickens over time, it forms an insulating layer that can significantly reduce the efficiency of your hot water system. This will result in inadequate hot water temperature.
To keep your water heater running at peak efficiency, it's important to flush your water heater from time to time. This will help to prevent problems caused by excess sediment buildup, thus maximising your water heater's performance and lifespan.
Check your water heater's T & P relief valve
As storage water heaters use a tank for storing hot water, the risk of explosions due to excess temperature and pressure buildup inside the tank is always inherent.
To prevent this from happening, manufacturers usually include a T & P (temperature and pressure) relief valve that discharges water to protect your water heater when the temperature or pressure reaches a critically unsafe level.
Regularly test your T & P valve to confirm that it is working properly. This is essential for ensuring the safety and reliability of your water heater.
Water heater problems may mean having no hot water for washing dirty dishes, going without a hot shower, running your washing machine on a cold wash setting only and many other inconveniences. If you experience any problems with your domestic hot water system, don't hesitate to contact a hot water service.