What Do Water Heater Maintenance Services Include?
Water heater maintenance can prevent the frustration and inconvenience of running out of hot water. It may avoid breakdowns, big repairs, and premature appliance failure as well. Many contractors advertise maintenance for water heaters. But the boilerplate text can often seem ambiguous. Here, we’ll outline what happens during a water heater maintenance service call.
Whether you have a gas or electric water heater, a maintenance technician should do the following:
- Examine the Anode Rod: This component protects your water heater from rust. In doing so, it naturally dissolves over time. It can also become coated by minerals and impurities from hard water.
To check it, a technician will turn off the gas or power and shut-off valve, release system pressure, and open the drain valve. If there’s rust in the water, the unit must be replaced; if the anode rod has over 6 inches of wire exposed or is less than half an inch thick, the rod will be replaced (it should be every 3 to 5 years).
- Flush Sediment from the Tank: A small amount of sediment enters the tank whenever it refills. This material accumulates over time. A water heater technician will look for this issue during maintenance, especially if you’re getting less hot water. To remove sediment, the unit will be turned off along with its cold-water supply. The technician will then turn on a hot water tap. Next, a garden hose will be connected to the drain valve; once the valve is opened, the tank will be allowed to drain.
If the water stays cloudy, the cold-water supply will be reopened to churn the sediment remaining in the tank. Once it’s clear, the tech will close the drain valve, let the tank refill, and turn the power back on.
- Test the Pressure Relief Valve: Located on the top or side of the unit, this valve opens when the pressure in the tank gets too high. It prevents the water heater tank from exploding. To test the pressure relief valve, the technician will turn off the power, shut the cold-water valve and, after placing a bucket under the pressure release valve, test the valve by lifting its tab. Water should flow out. The valve must be replaced if no water comes out or water continues to flow once the tab is released.
- Adjust Water Temperature: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the safest and most efficient water heater temperature is 120℉.1 A technician will check the temperature setting during a maintenance call and adjust it as needed (your energy bill can drop by 5% for every 10 degrees you lower the water heater’s temperature). Also, ask them to explain how to reset the temperature, should you go away for a few days and not need hot water.
- Install Insulation If Necessary: If your water heater is five to 10 years old, a technician can insulate it (newer units often have insulation). This can be as simple as placing a foil-covered bubble wrap over it with holes left for the pressure relief valve, pipes, and panels. The top of an electric water heater tank (not a gas unit) can be covered with a piece of insulation, taped to the sides. Insulating hot and cold water pipes with foam pipe insulation can prevent heat loss and condensation.
If you have a gas water heater, additional maintenance steps will be necessary. The technician will test the gas valve. Any problems found will be fixed to restore safety. A test of the ventilation system will be performed as well to find potential cracks in ventilation pipes, backed-up combustion gases, and the presence of carbon monoxide.
Schedule Water Heater Maintenance Services with Waldrop
Customers in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties can schedule water heater services with Waldrop at any time. Our trained technicians perform all the steps above plus a thorough evaluation of your heater’s condition and performance. Schedule water heater maintenance if you’re running out of hot water, the water appears rusty, or the unit is noisy, leaking, or older. Call 864-536-0887 to schedule your appointment.