If you haven’t thought of water heater maintenance lately, the fall season is a good time to tend to this valuable, yet often forgotten home appliance. Read on to learn maintenance tasks you can perform, and which tasks you may want to ask your plumbing professional to handle during fall home maintenance.
Hot Water Temperature
Water heater temperature is often set at 140 to 145 when shipped from the manufacturer. This is to help prevent legionellae bacteria from contaminating water heaters and piping. However, high hot water temperatures can cause scalding in a few seconds. To make hot water in your home safe for everyone, turn back the temperature to 120 degrees (which also reduces water-heating costs and slows corrosion), or install temperature-regulating devices in the kitchen and bathrooms.
To test the temperature of your hot water, use a thermometer to measure temperature at the most distant outlet from the water heater. If the temperature is higher than 120, turn back the thermostat accordingly. Wait a few hours and test again.
Water Heater Flushing
Water heaters are prone to corrosion from mineral and sediment buildup inside the tank. Flush about one gallon of water from the drain valve each month to help remove buildup. The drain valve is located near the bottom of the tank. (Caution: do not touch the pressure and temperature relief valve near the top.)
The water heater should be completely flushed of water once a year. Here’s how:
- Turn off the gas valve, water inlet valve and the circuit breaker switch.
- Hook up a water hose to the drain valve.
- Extend the hose to a floor drain or bathtub (remember, you are draining 50 to 80 gallons of water).
- Turn on the drain valve and let the tank completely drain.
- Turn on the inlet water valve to continue flushing the tank for a few more minutes.
- Turn off the drain valve to fill the tank.
- Turn on the gas and electricity.
For assistance with water heater maintenance, please contact us at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. We serve homeowners throughout the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts.
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