hands on water pipes

Not All Water Heaters are Created Equal

As temperatures begin to dip, warm baths and showers become a must-have. Without a yearly check-up, our water heaters can work overtime when winter rolls in. If your water heater isn’t ready to take on this level of strain, this could spell some problems for you. Basic maintenance could help your water heater work effectively and extend its life span.

Not all heaters are created equally though. So the way you care for your water heater is highly dependent on the type of system you own and the climate you live in. We have assembled a yearly inspection checklist below that can guide you through the maintenance process.

Check the pressure release valve on your unit every 6 months

It’s best to check on your water heater regularly to make sure it’s still in working order. This is a good time to inspect the whole unit for any small leaks.

To test the pressure relief valve all you have to do is lift the valve. Caution is required as you will be exposed to scorching pressured water. Doing this will drain some of the water from the tank through the drainpipe attached to the valve. Don’t worry, gurgling sounds are normal. After you drain the water make sure to shut it. The water should stop completely once the valve is shut. If it doesn’t, open and close the valve a few more times to dislodge any possible debris keeping the valve open. If no water comes out while the valve is open, or if water continues to leak after the test, the valve may need to be replaced and it’s time to contact the experts at Quarter Moon.

Flush your water heater at least once a year

This helps to prevent calcium and other particles from building up inside the tank and straining the system.
You can easily do this yourself by turning off the water heater and letting it cool. Then connect a hose to the drain valve to drain the water into a bucket or the outdoors. Make sure you leave at least one hot water faucet inside your home as you drain the tank.

Check the sacrificial anode rod inside your tank every 2 years.

Anode rods protect your tank from corrosion. They typically last 3-5 years but checking up on them can reduce the risk of leaks, improve the quality of your water and expand the life of your water heating unit.

Checking the anode rod may be a two-person job, but is still doable, just make sure you turn off the cold water supply at the top right side of your unit, and whatever fuel supply your system runs off of (gas or electric). Then drain about 10% of the tank’s volume into a large bucket. Locate the anode rod by finding the hex plug at the top of the tank and using a 1-1/16” impact socket loosen the hex head (DO NOT twist the heater as this will cause damage) and pull out the anode rod to inspect. Once you have ensured you don’t need a replacement insert the rod once more and tighten the hex, turn on the water and power supply. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, our qualified specialists at Quarter Moon are more than happy to take it off your plate.

Insulate your water heating tank

We highly recommend doing this during the colder months and if your tank is older. Most tanks come insulated, but the cold and natural wear-and-tear can cause heat to escape lowering efficiency, and strong variations in temperature can cause your tank to crack. Consider installing a water heater tank cover on your tank. They are a relatively inexpensive way to keep your tank running efficiently even during the colder months.

Tankless water heaters typically take care of themselves pretty well as they use power to protect from freezing over in the colder months, but there are still some things you can do to keep your water heater working at 100%.

Properly Insulate your pipes.

You could lose a lot of heat to uninsulated pipes making you work your water heater even more and they could even lead to frozen or burst pipes.

Have your unit descaled once a year.

Descaling a tankless unit can be a bit tricky so we recommend scheduling regular maintenance with a Quarter Moon expert.

Check for leaks.

It’s good practice to look over your unit regularly to make sure you don’t see any water escaping your unit. Catching a leak early could save you a lot of time and money.

Keep your shower water running smoothly and warm as the cold holiday season begins.

Take advantage of our limited-time special!

Buy an air purifier to stay allergen- and virus-free this season and get a free heat check ($99 value).

Quarter Moon has your back so schedule your appointment today by calling Quarter Moon Plumbing & AC at (210) 651-5899 and get your plumbing or HVAC system professionally inspected for your convenience!