Top 8 Dos and Don’ts for Water Heaters

The last few weeks have brought the bitter cold, blowing winds and snow we all dread. Winter in these parts is not for the weak. One thing you really want to avoid at any time of the year, but particularly in winter, is problems with your hot water tank. When you’ve been stuck outside shovelling and come in looking for a hot shower or bath, you want to make sure you have hot water. Without taking proper care of your system, you may need emergency repairs to your hot water heater in the dead of winter. There are a few tips that can help prolong the life of your hot water heater and other tips that can help if you need to replace one.

DO make sure you get the right size tank

Water heaters come in different sizes so make sure to pick a size that is proportionate to the size of your home and the number of people living in it. Are family members running out of hot water when taking showers? If yes, you may want to consider a larger one.

DO follow temperature guidelines

Yes, everyone enjoys a hot shower but take care that that your water heater is not set higher than 120 degrees F. Higher than that can result in someone being scalded.

You can also save money by lowering the temperature to its lowest setting when you are on vacation or away from home for an extended time. It will also reduce the risk of any problems related to the heater. Simply raise the temperature upon your return.

DO pick the right place

When you are installing a water heater in your home, make sure to consider things like climate, input type and the location of the faucets. Above all, make sure you will be able to have quick and easy access to the water when you need to perform maintenance.

DO perform yearly testing and draining

Draining your water heater regularly to remove excessive sediment will prolong its life and durability. You should flush out the water through the drain valve at least once per year. This will help get rid of any sediment built up and can clog your system.

DO have regular inspections done

Beyond the draining and safety valve test mentioned above, you should have an inspection performed regularly. This will ensure that any water that may be leaking is detected and that your water heater was installed properly.

DON’T allow children near the water heater

Children or animals can be hurt is left unattended around your hot water heater. Make the area around it inaccessible and make sure they understand they should not touch or play with it or around it.

DON’T let things pile up around the heater

Storing items around your water heater is a fire hazard. While it is operating, make sure that any flammable items are kept at least 18 inches away from the heater to avoid any chance of them catching fire. Ideally, nothing should be stored near your water heater.

DON’T ignore warning signs

In the same way a leaking roof requires immediate attention, you should not wait to call for repairs if you notice water heater problems. The problems will not go away, but in all likelihood, will only get worse and may result in an emergency situation.

Over time and use, water heaters start to break down. You should call not ignore the warning signs such as:

  • Poor quality of water
  • Issues with temperature
  • Loud or unusual sounds
  • Puddles of water around the heater
  • High utility bills

These signs are usually an indication that your water heater is getting old and may need to be replaced.

If your water heater is older than 10 years, it is reaching the end of its lifespan. Most insurance companies require that you replace your water heater every 10 years. If you have recently purchased a home and are not sure of the age of the water heater, your inspection report should provide that information. The pros from Mose Home Inspection can tell you the age and condition of a water heater in any home they inspect. At Mose, our goal is to provide you with everything you need to know about your home.