From soothing hot showers to sanitizing dishes, clean clothes, or simply relaxing in comfort, a reliable water heating system is indispensable. However, like any hardworking appliance, water heaters need regular attention to perform at their best and extend their lifespan. 

Ignoring maintenance can lead to inefficiencies, higher utility bills, and untimely breakdowns. Here are five crucial tips to maintain your water heating system and keep it running efficiently.

Flushing the Tank 

One of the most crucial tasks is flushing the water heater tank to clear out residue build-up. This should be done annually for both gas and electric tank systems. Start by turning off the power supply and the water inlet valve. 

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank and position the other end where it can safely drain. Open a hot water faucet to allow air into the tank, which will aid in draining. 

Once the tank is empty, turn on the water supply for a few minutes to flush out remaining residue, then close the drain valve and refill the tank. This simple act can significantly enhance your water heater’s efficiency and extend its life.

Leak Inspection 

Leaks are obvious signs that something is wrong with your water heating system. Regularly check for any visible leaks from the tank, pipes, or pressure relief valve. If you notice a leak, it could be due to high pressure, a loose connection, or a deteriorated tank. 

Addressing leak detection promptly can prevent damage to your floors and walls, the growth of mold, and even flooding. Remember, water can be deceptive, so don’t underestimate the significance of a small leak.

Schedule Professional Maintenance 

DIY maintenance goes a long way, but there are certain tasks best left to professionals. An annual check-up by a licensed technician will not only address issues that you might miss, but it also ensures the warranty of your water heater remains valid. 

During a professional servicing or residential water heating unit repair, the technician will clean and inspect the unit, checking for corrosion, rust, and other concerns. 

They will also inspect and replace components like the anode rod, which prevents the buildup of rust in the tank, and ensure all safety features are working correctly.

Pressure Relief Valve 

The pressure relief valve is a critical component of a water heater, as it releases pressure to prevent the tank from exploding. However, mineral deposits can sometimes cause the valve to malfunction, leading to leaks or complete failure. 

To test the valve, lift the lever partly and allow it to snap back into place. You should hear a gurgling sound as the valve releases a little water and pressure. If the valve doesn’t operate correctly, it’s time for a replacement by a licensed professional.

Adjusting the Temperature 

The default manufacturer settings for most water heaters are 140°F, but many households can effectively lower this temperature to 120°F without sacrificing comfort. This minor adjustment can save on energy costs and also help prevent scalding. 

Consult your water heater’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the temperature setting. For electric heaters, you can often do this by turning off the power and removing the thermostat cover to access the adjustment. For gas systems, the thermostat dial is usually located on the bottom of the tank.

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