You probably don’t think about your home’s water heater very often. Like most Greenwood homeowners, you simply rely on it to deliver what your family needs for hot showers, clean dishes, and warm laundry.
But water heaters are just like every other appliance in your Greenwood home. No matter how well they’re designed and manufactured, they don’t last forever. Today’s top-quality traditional tank-style water heaters will usually provide a decade of great performance — but only if they’re properly cared for. Following the steps described here are the best way to keep your hot water heater operating reliably for a longer time.
The best way to head off problems, failures, and the need for replacement is to provide regular maintenance. One of the most important things you can do is at least annually drain a few gallons of water from the tank to flush out naturally occurring sediment that accumulates over time. Sediment buildup can reduce the heater’s efficiency and lead to corrosion. When you flush your Greenwood home’s water heater, it’s also wise to check for any signs of rust on the tank and inspect the pressure relief valve to ensure it is functioning correctly.
Install a Water Softener
Water throughout central Indiana — even city water — tends to be full of naturally occurring minerals like calcium and magnesium. Those and other minerals are why people often say our area has “hard” water. They can accumulate on the heating elements and the bottom of the tank, reducing efficiency and causing premature failure. If you don’t already have a water softener, Johnson Heating Cooling & Plumbing’s professional plumbing team can explain the many benefits of installing one. In addition to protecting your home’s water heater, soft water makes bathing and doing laundry much easier.
Choose Temperature Carefully
You might think it makes sense to set your water heater at the highest temperature, but that’s not the case. Adjusting your water heater’s temperature to the optimal setting can significantly impact its lifespan. While you might think about cranking up the heat for a scalding shower, a temperature setting between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit is recommended for both safety and efficiency. Higher temperatures not only increase the risk of scalding but also accelerate mineral buildup and corrosion inside the tank.
Add An Expansion Tank
Like most materials, water expands as its temperature increases. In a water heater that’s already full, the extra pressure can strain seals and connections, accelerating their wear. Installing an expansion tank provides a buffer for the expanding water, reducing stress on the tank and prolonging the life of your water heater. (Expansion tanks are particularly important in Greenwood homes with closed water systems.)
Insulating the tank with a water heater blanket or jacket helps maintain a consistent temperature inside. Minimizing heat loss from your water heater this way can improve its efficiency and longevity by reducing the workload on the heating elements. Be sure to follow the water heater manufacturer’s guidelines and safety recommendations when installing insulation.
Replace The Rod
The anode rod is sometimes called the sacrificial rod, because it draws corrosive chemicals away from the water heater’s walls and components. Regularly inspect and replace the anode rod if needed, typically every 3-5 years, depending on water quality. This simple maintenance task that takes just minutes can significantly extend the life of your water heater.
Regularly check your water heater’s tank for any signs of leaks around the tank and promptly address any issues you find. Quick action can prevent minor problems from escalating into major malfunctions.
The best way to keep your Greenwood home’s water heater operating at peak efficiency is to have Johnson Heating Cooling & Plumbing’s team of expert plumbers inspect it every year. As they examine your water heater, our team can identify potential issues, perform thorough maintenance, and offer expert advice about extending its life. Regular check-ups can catch problems early, preventing costly repairs or the need for premature replacement, so call us right away to schedule your water heater inspection.