Get Your Home’s Water Heater Ready for a Long, Cold Winter

water heater The performance, efficiency and life span of a water heater depends on the temperature setting and regular maintenance. Use these tips for prepping a water heater for winter to help your system last longer, save energy and ensure you don’t shiver in the shower.

Prepping a Water Heater for Winter

Water heaters are often shipped from the manufacturer with temperature settings in excess of 140 degrees. Water this hot can quickly cause scalding, plus it contributes to water heater wear and higher energy bills. Use a thermometer to check the hot water temperature at the most distant outlet. Then adjust the water heater thermostat dial as needed until the temperature is around 120 degrees.

Storage water heaters heat and re-heat water regardless of usage. Insulation is very important to minimize standby heat loss, which typically accounts for a large portion of the water heating bill. If the storage tank is cool to the touch, consider insulating it with blanket or jacket insulation specifically designed for your model.

Check all accessible hot water pipes in the home for insulation, too. Fiberglass insulation wrap works well and increases hot water temperature by a few degrees.

Sediment and minerals present in the water supply accumulate inside the water heater. Without regular tank flushing, sediment and deposits build to the point heat exchange is obstructed and components deteriorate. Common signs of this are water discoloration and grumbling or banging noises from the water heater. Drain up to one gallon of water from the water heater each month to help flush out debris.

Professional Maintenance

Professional water heater maintenance should be included each year with your furnace maintenance. Your plumbing professional flushes the entire tank and replaces components as needed. One such component is the anode rod. The anode rod is a sacrificial part that attracts debris in the water to protect the storage tank lining. The anode rod should be replaced about every three years.

For more tips prepping a water heater for winter in your Milford, Cumberland or Norfolk home, contact Victory · Heating · Air Conditioning · Plumbing.

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