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A Basic Homeowner’s Guide to Water Heater Maintenance

Nothing’s quite as frustrating as running out of hot water in the middle of a shampoo. Storage tank wateA Basic Homeowner's Guide to Water Heater Maintenancer heaters are largely ignored until something goes wrong, and by then the problem can be expensive to repair, or the system may be too far gone to salvage.Proper water heater maintenance will keep the hot water coming in your western Colorado home, as well as extend the life of your system and increase its efficiency. Here are some things you should do to keep your storage tank water heater in top shape:

  • Set your thermostat to 120 degrees. Hotter temperatures increase the risk of scalding, increase energy costs, and promote corrosion and sediment buildup.
  • Drain the sediment from your tank at least once a year, according to manufacturer’s directions. Sediment acts as an insulator between the heating element and the water, making your water heater work harder to keep the water in the tank hot.
  • Insulate your water heater tank and pipes to save up to 9 percent on water heating costs. Precut foam pipe insulation and insulating blankets for the tank are widely available and easy to install. If you have a relatively new water heater, it may already have plenty of insulation built into the tank. Feel the side of the tank, and if it feels warm, it probably needs insulation.
  • Maintain at least 2 feet of clear space around your water heater.
  • Keep combustible materials at least 15 feet away from your unit.

While these maintenance tasks will help keep your water heater operating optimally, an annual tune-up by an HVAC professional is essential for keeping your water heating costs in check and preventing breakdowns. A comprehensive tune-up will include these key points:

  • Tighten electrical and gas connections for safety and efficiency.
  • Check the temperature and pressure relief valve to ensure this safety feature is working properly.
  • Check the sacrificial anode rod, which keeps your tank from rusting, and replace it if needed.
  • Flush the tank to remove sediment buildup.
  • Check and clean the burners or heating element.

For more expert advice on water heater maintenance, or to schedule a tune-up with one of our expert technicians, please feel free to contact us at Climate Control Company, proudly serving Western Slope communities with a high level of customer satisfaction since 1956.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Aspen, Vail and the surrounding Western slope communities in Colorado about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about water heater maintenance and other HVAC topics, please visit our website.     

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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