Water heaters are appliances that run in the background and generally go unnoticed — until you start having a problem with them. If your water heater stops working, you'll have to take a cold shower. And even worse, if it springs a leak, you'll have to clean up gallons of water from your floor! Water heater repair teams can save the day in such cases, but of course, it's even better if you do not have to call them at all. Here are a few ways to keep your water heater running well so that, hopefully, you don't need to make as many repairs.
Install a water softener.
Do you have hard water? If you notice mineral deposits on your utensils and faucets, then you probably do. Hard water can leave deposits in the bottom of your hot water tank. These deposits absorb heat, making your tank less effective at heating the actual water. They can also start to build up in the valves connected to your tank. Installing a water softener ensures these minerals are removed from the solution before the water enters your hot water tank. Water softeners cost a few hundred dollars, but they will save you a fortune in the long run — not only on hot water heater repairs but also on repairs to dishwashers, coffee makers, and other small appliances that use water.
Turn the temperature down.
Your water heater is like any other appliance in that the harder it has to work, the sooner it will wear out. Unless you have a very good reason for keeping your water hotter, turn the thermostat down to 120 degrees. This is hot enough to kill bacteria in the tank but not hot enough that it forces your heater to work extra hard to keep up. As a bonus, the risk of scalding your skin is lower when you turn the thermostat down!
Drain the tank.
Have you ever wondered why there is a valve at the base of your hot water heater? You can turn the water supply to the unit off, hook a hose up to that valve, open the valve, and drain the tank. This is something you should do about once a year. It removes any sediment from the tank, helping to keep it running efficiently and well. Make sure you run the hose outside or into a drain so you don't create a mess.