You probably take your water heater for granted until something goes wrong. To lengthen the time between repairs, perform water heater maintenance throughout the year. Many tasks are simple and don't require expertise, but a full-system flush is best performed by a professional every year or two.
Here are three important water heater maintenance tasks you can perform yourself:
- Turn down the temperature: Examine the tank for a temperature knob or thermostat. Lower the temperature from the default 140 degrees to about 120 degrees. Perform this one-time task right now to prevent overheating during maintenance and to save money every month on water heating bills. (Don't go lower than 120 degrees or microbes could grow in the tank.)
- Test the temperature and pressure relief valve: Lift up on the T&P valve partway and let it snap back into place. The sound of gurgling water is the result you want. If you hear nothing or the valve fails to snap back, have it replaced.
- Do a mini-flush: Place a bucket beneath the drain valve and turn the valve counter-clockwise. Drain a few gallons to remove sediment from the bottom of the tank and improve heating efficiency.
Replacing Your Water Heater
If your water heater has reached the end of its lifespan and it's time to replace it, you should become familiar with the new federally mandated energy efficiency standards. They go into effect April 16, 2015 and affect homeowners in the following ways:
- Purchase and installation costs will go up: Features allowing for greater water heating efficiency is more expensive than older technology. That's why wholesalers are predicting a 20 to 40 percent increase in water heater costs once the new standards take effect. Installation costs could increase as well due to equipment size changes and the resulting increase in installation complexity.
- Water heating bills will go down: Fortunately, there's an upside to increased purchase and installation costs, which is lower operating costs. According to the Department of Energy, the new standards are expected to save $63 billion in energy bill savings across the US between 2015 and 2044. On a more personal level, this means you could save 16 percent or more on your water heating bills if you replace your old gas water heater with one that meets the new minimum standards.
- Supplies will begin to run out: As April 16 approaches, wholesalers will start running out of water heaters that meet the old standards as contractors and homeowners snatch them up before the new regulations take effect. If your water heater is nearing the end of its lifespan, it could be worthwhile to replace it now to avoid higher upfront costs. Mr. Rooter® Plumbing can help you determine your current unit's longevity so you make the right choice.
The idea of paying higher installation costs once April 16 rolls around might make you nervous. Don't panic! Mr. Rooter Plumbing can help with your water heater transition, whether you decide to replace before or after the change occurs. Either way, you want the installation to grant you hot water exactly when you need it.
Whether you need help maintaining your current water heater, determining the age of your unit, or installing new equipment - either before or after the new standards go into effect - give Mr. Rooter a call! We're the go-to source for all your plumbing needs.