You’re taking a relaxing shower when the water suddenly goes ice-cold and just won’t heat up! But you have a water heater, so why isn’t it working? It may be a sign that your water heater needs maintenance.
Like any other piece of equipment, your water heater needs regular upkeep for it to run smoothly and provide hot water. Furthermore, most manufacturers require flushing and inspection at least once a year to maintain a system’s warranty.
However, having your water heater inspected annually does more than just ensure your next shower will be comfortable. Performing regular water heater maintenance will help it last longer and prevent it from damaging your home!
So, don’t wait until it’s too late! Contact us today to have one of our professional technicians inspect your water heater. We provide services throughout Chicagoland and the surrounding suburbs.
Keep reading to learn more about water heater maintenance, including why it’s important and signs to watch for when it’s time for maintenance.
Why Do I Need Regular Water Heater Maintenance?
Water heaters are often the most forgotten and neglected piece of equipment in homes. You may even forget about it until you no longer have any hot water! If that happens, that’s an urgent sign that you need to check your water heater and fast.
One of the main reasons your water heater needs maintenance is because of sediment and rock buildup from hard water. Unfortunately, rock in your water heater can cause thousands of dollars in damages to your tank, plumbing and home. And hard water is very common in Northern Illinois cities like Algonquin or St. Charles.
Over time, sediment and rock can corrode your water heater and clog the pressure release valve, which could make the water heater explode!
On the lesser damaging side, a lack of maintenance will reduce your water heater’s efficiency. The continuous buildup of sediment can also lessen your tank’s capacity for hot water.
Regular water heater service will also increase the lifespan of your system so that it lasts up to 10 years or more! Plus, your tank will be more efficient and save you money in the long run.
What are Water Heater Repair Warning Signs?
Regular water heater maintenance should keep your water heater from acting up. However, it’s still a good idea to watch out for red flags that indicate your system needs service.
Let’s take a closer look at a few problems to watch out for:
Does your shower take a long time to heat up only to produce lukewarm water? If so, then your water heater probably has a lot of sediment buildup and needs service.
Water heaters work by warming the water from the bottom of the tank. However, when hard water leaves behind sediment, it builds up over this heat source. As a result, the heat has a hard time reaching the water, producing lukewarm results.
This excess sediment also takes up extra space in the tank, leaving less room for water. So, you will also have less warm water to use because your tank won’t have as much capacity.
Higher Energy Bills
Another sign to watch out for is how much money you’re paying for your energy bill. Unfortunately, sediment buildup causes the burner to work overtime to get you hot water. So, if you see your energy bills increasing each month, you should check your water heater because it may be the culprit.
Sediment Coming Out of Your Faucets
When too much sediment is in your water heater, it may also start finding its way into your plumbing, faucets and showerheads. The buildup of these particles can clog your plumbing and damage your pipes. It can also cause dry, itchy skin and dry, brittle hair if you bathe in the water. Fortunately, a quality water softener can help prevent these problems by removing excess rock from the water.
Loss of Water Pressure at High Temperatures
Excess sediment buildup in your water heater can also cause a lack of water production. As a result, you will have low water pressure but only when you turn the water temperature up. Unfortunately, this may be a common problem in Southeast Florida cities like Boca Raton or Lake Worth where there is a lot of hard water.
Leaking Water from Your Tank
Regardless of the age of your water heater, you should not take leaks lightly. Even smaller, slower leaks can result in catastrophic structural damages to your home over time. But if left unattended, small leaks can become major leaks and unleash thousands of gallons of water within hours of a sudden structural failure.
Your Water Heater is More Than a Decade Old
On average, the typical water heater lasts 8-10 years. However, the harder your water is and the more regularly you use it, the shorter its life span will be. A lack of regular maintenance will make this timeframe even shorter.
Most manufacturers’ warranties expire after 5-8 years. If that’s already happened for your water heater, we recommended you look for methods to prolong its life or replace it completely.
How Often Should Water Heater Maintenance Happen?
Regardless of what type of water heater tank you have, every system needs regular maintenance. Usually, you need to check your water heater once or twice per year.
Gas, electric and tankless water heaters need to be flushed every 6-12 months. This prevents the buildup of sediment, rust and corrosion.
You also need to check the anode rod and the temperature release valve on gas and electric water heaters annually. The anode rod attracts sediment so that the rod will corrode instead of the water heater. If it’s corroded, it needs to be replaced.
The temperature release valve allows water to drain if the pressure gets too high in your tank. If this isn’t working properly or isn’t checked, it could result in your water heater and connected pipes exploding. This is because sediment builds up and blocks water from escaping.
Lastly, it’s best to keep your water heater thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This increases the efficiency of the system and prevents scalding injuries. It is also a good idea to insulate the water heater pipes and tank to help it effectively retain heat.
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How Water Heater Maintenance Works
At Angel Water, we provide professional water heater maintenance on all makes and models, including Kenmore, GE and EcoSmart. Our licensed professionals know how to properly flush a system and repair all parts.
Gas and electric tanks require different maintenance than tankless water heaters. Here’s how maintenance works for each system:
How Does Maintenance Work for Gas or Electric Water Heaters?
If you have a gas or electric water heater, one of the first things we’ll do is test the temperature-pressure release (TPR) valve. We do this first because this part could cause the most damage to your home. We will ensure the TPR valve releases water when necessary. If it doesn’t work, we will replace it.
Next, we can inspect the anode rod. As mentioned before, the anode rod works to attract sediment and corrosive materials before they get to the tank. Over time, the anode rod corrodes, but this is what it’s supposed to do. We’ll check to see if your anode rod needs to be replaced.
Lastly, we’ll drain the tank and wash out any sediment that’s resting at the bottom. Once this is complete, your hot water will run free and clear!
What’s Different for Tankless Water Heater Maintenance?
Because the tankless water heater doesn’t have a tank the system works a bit differently compared to gas or electric water heaters. Because of this, tankless water heater maintenance has a few distinct steps.
First, we’ll still flush the system ensuring there isn’t any sediment buildup. Next, we’ll check and clean the filters. Tankless water heaters have two filters, one for air and one for water. We clean both filters thoroughly so that the water heater functions properly.
Any dust, dirt or debris that collects on the water heater may get inside and cause problems. So, we finish with tankless water heater cleaning by flushing it with an acid to clean out the excess rock and sediment buildup. Then we wipe down the outside of your system.
Get Water Heater Maintenance Today!
If issues with your water heater continually crop up, and several repairs have been done, it may be an indication that enough is truly enough. Several issues over the course of a year are a fair warning that a major failure isn’t a matter of if, but when!
Unfortunately, water damage from faulty, failing water heaters is one of the main homeowner policy claims. So, doing regular water heater maintenance will ensure you’ve secured your family’s safety and comfort.
If you’re in need of help throughout Chicago, IL, or West Palm Beach, FL, regions, the Angel Water family is here to serve you. Don’t delay, contact us and schedule your inspection today!
Editor’s Note: This blog was originally published in December 2016 and updated in January 2022.