Here’s 5 important water heater maintenance tips:
1. Lower your thermostat to 120 degrees. Some manufacturers set their heaters at 140 degrees. This could result in accelerated aging of your water heater when minerals are present in your water. However in spite of this and potential scalding some may chose this higher temperature to avoid the rare possibility of bacteria in the tank.
2. Wrap your water heater and pipes, if warm to the touch. This will enhance performance and decrease standby heat loss.
3. Strap your water heater to the wall. We live in earthquake country and toppled heaters cause fires.
4. Turn your heater off when away for a few days. Some water heaters have a “vacation” setting, which maintains the pilot light without heating any water. Alternatively turn the thermostat down to the lowest setting or completely turn off the water heater. To turn off an electric water heater, switch off the circuit breaker to it. For a gas water heater, make sure you know how to safely relight the pilot light before turning it off.
5. Do preventative maintenance every 3 years. Don’t forget to schedule your annual water heater tune-up. Your plumber should check the pressure relief valve, drain your tank to remove any sediment, if needed, inspect the tank and connections for rust, wear or corrosion, and replace worn anode rods.
Wrap your water heater and pipes, if warm to the touch.
An insulation blanket can make some water heaters more energy efficient if they are warm to the touch. This can be especially helpful in unconditional in cold, unconditioned spaces.
A heat blanket isn’t blanket necessary if you have a new water heater that is factory insulated with R-16 or better. (The factory-installed insulation is located between the metal shell and the tank, so don’t worry if you can’t see it.) The manufacturer’s label will tell you how much insulation your water heater contains.
It is recommended that you consult a professional before wrapping a gas water heater. Experts argue that heat loss in gas water heaters is primarily due to the un-insulated flue which runs up the top center of your heater. You would not want to improperly insulate the gas water heaters, due to additional requirements for combustion and ventilation.
If you think you need an insulation kit, it will be based on the size of the heater, such as 30 gallons, 40 gallons, or 50 gallons. The kit contains a blanket that’s finished with white vinyl on the outside and raw insulation on the inside and enough adhesive tape to finish the seams.
You may consider if your water heater is old enough to get an energy-savings boost from an insulation wrap, then it is also at or near the end of its lifespan. It might be a better investment of time and money to put that $30 toward a replacement water heater.
We’d like to highlight the following before taking on this task:
- Take a picture of the safety warnings and operating instructions (DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE), print the picture and place it on the outside of your tank.
- Take care not to cover controls, access areas, shut-off devices, temperature and pressure relief valves, etc.
- Take care not to blocking air passages required for combustion or draft resulting in unsafe operation.
We found this links might be helpful for keeping your water heater cozy and efficient:
Insulate Your Water Heater Tank https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/services/do-it-yourself-energy-savings-projects/savings-project-insulate-your-water
- Insulate Hot Water Pipes https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/services/do-it-yourself-energy-savings-projects/savings-project-insulate-hot-water-pipes
- Lower Water Heating Temperature https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/services/do-it-yourself-energy-savings-projects/savings-project-lower-water-heating
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