Plumbing Explained: Water Heater Maintenance

Those of us in this world who have the luxury of indoor plumbing would agree that hot water is vital to our daily lives. We often do not give our water heater a passing thought, until the day our faithful friend breaks down, causing us to have to take a cold shower! Water heaters do need to be replaced from time to time, however two small routine maintenance details, when addressed correctly, can help them do their job efficiently and extend their life exponentially.

First, sediment in your water in the form of rust or alkaline impurities can build up and accumulate inside the tank. Over time, this build up will waste energy as it impedes the transmission of heat to the water. This sediment eventually settles near the bottom of the tank, and is easily removed by opening the drain valve, a spigot located near the bottom of the tank. Collect any cloudy water into a bucket and discard. Since the amount of sediment will vary depending on your water, begin by checking it monthly until you notice only about a bucketful of cloudy water being extracted at a time.

Second, each water heater has a relief valve, which should be checked periodically. The relief valve is a secondary safety measure in the event of a thermostat malfunction. In the rare event of a dangerous rise in temperature, the valve will release overheated water before it can boil into steam, potentially causing an explosion of the unit. To check this valve, simply place a bucket underneath your water heater overflow pipe, and toggle the lever on the relief valve at the top of the tank.

If you need assistance in performing any of these tasks, don’t hesitate to contact your local West Boylston MA plumbing contractor for these or any other plumbing needs.

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