Taking a shower on-demand is one of life’s little pleasures. When the water temperature isn’t quite right, you want it fixed – quickly!
Cleaning your Water Heater
The average lifespan of your water heater’s tank is about 10 years, but you can help extend its longevity by draining the tank at least once a year.
Tools You’ll Need:
- A garden hose that’s long enough to reach a nearby drain or suitable exit point for water to go
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Old nylon stocking
- Zip-tie or bread bag wire fastener
- Make sure you have a garden hose handy – one that you can connect to the bottom of your tank and that’s long enough to reach a floor drain or another other exit point. A good rule to follow is that water flows downward much more easily, so you’ll want to position the hose’s end so that it’s lower than the tank’s drain point.
- Fasten an old nylon stocking over the end of your garden hose with a zip or wire twist tie, giving you an automatic filter. That way, any debris coming from the tank won’t clog your drain or soil your driveway.
- First and foremost, turn off the power that goes to the tank. If you have an electric water heater, you’ll want to shut off the breaker that controls the tank’s power source. If you have a gas water heater, you’ll want to use the gas shut-off valve that goes directly to the tank.
- The next step you’ll want to take is to shut off the water supply line. Typically, the water shut-off valve is located above the tank.
- Then, connect your hose.
- At your closest sink, open up the hot water tap and let it run. It’ll help relieve the system pressure inside the tank.
- Clear the area around the tank before you open up the drain valve. The hot water from your tank is HOT!
- With the hose connected, open up the drain valve on the tank. When the valve is open, the hot water will drain out of the tank.
- Once the water is completely out of the tank, close the drain valve and then remove the garden hose. Turn the gas or electricity and your water supply line back on.
- Make sure you check how much sediment the nylon stocking caught. If it was a cup or more, flush your hot water tank more often than yearly. If it was about a tablespoon’s worth, then once a year will probably be often enough.
- Keep your tank’s temperature down to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A lower temperature helps preserve the life of your tank, saves on your energy costs and helps prevent scalding accidents. It’ll also help you to prevent mold and bacterial growth in the tank – a great way to maintain your home’s water quality.
- To save energy, use the “Vacation Setting” when you leave for an extended visit. The pilot light stays lit but the water won’t heat.
- Check the area around your water heater and keep the floor around it clean. You’ll be able to detect excessive rust or other debris buildup in the area that can indicate potential problems.
When water quality is also a concern, you have some options. You can install a whole-house filtration system that filters your water as it comes into the house. That way, you can be assured that the water reaching your water heater is clean, filtered and, by the time it reaches your taps, good tasting. The other added advantage is that it can help extend the life of your appliances, including your water heater, but also a dishwasher or clothes washer, for example. A filter removes these elements before they can damage your appliances.
A whole house water filter can also pair with a water softener, so double check to make sure you have hard water before you add a softener. A water softener dramatically reduces visible spots and your need for heavy detergents when washing dishes and clothes.
A water softener can also help preserve the life of your plumbing and fixtures. It removes the calcium, iron and other deposits that clog pipes and appliances. A water softener helps keep your washer, dishwasher, faucets, shower-heads and toilets running cleanly and smoothly for longer periods of time.
A Reverse Osmosis System (RO) can be a great solution with several advantages:
- Improves taste, odor and appearance of your water, straight from the tap.
- Removes pollutants by flushing them away and does not collect them.
- Consumes no energy.
- Uses the latest technology to purify your water.
- Gives you quality water for pennies per gallon.