Taking Care of Your Water Heater
A Simple Flush Can Extend the Appliance’s Life
Getting the most out of our household appliances involves following a regular schedule of maintenance items that are usually not that difficult for the average homeowner to perform.
When it comes to water heaters, we recommend flushing the appliance periodically to make sure the electric elements or gas flame are heating water – not dirt, debris, or the mineral buildup that occurs in areas served by hard water.
How Often Should You Drain Your Water Heater?
If you have a water softener or soft water, flushing can be done less frequently. If your water is hard, though, you’ll want to flush more often to prevent damage from buildup that can ruin the liner and elements long before they wear out from normal wear and tear.
If you do have a water softener, one thing that can really affect water heater performance as well as water pressure throughout the house is the inevitable breakdown of the resin bed that treats the incoming water. If the resins have broken down, they’ll migrate to the hot water tank and settle to the bottom where they form a thick tea colored sludge.
If this is the case, you’ll probably have already noticed the water is harder than and the pressure is lower than it should be, and you’ll probably need professional help to correct the problem.
Drain Regularly For Performance And Reliability
Depending on how comfortable you are in maintaining your appliances, regularly flushing the water heater can add significantly to the appliance’s lifetime, improve performance, and save valuable energy at the same time.
This YouTube video from Sears covers the basics of how to go about draining an electric water heater. Whether you have gas or electric, it’s very important that the heat source be cut before attempting service. Here’s a more detailed video at what’s required to successfully flush a gas water heater.
About Quarter-Turn Faucets
Quarter-turn faucets are quickly becoming the default control valve used throughout the home, and for good reason. Performance, ease of use, and longevity make quarter-turn valves much more reliable than old style gate and gasket valves that are especially susceptible to failure when used infrequently.
Replacing your old style valves with a new, convenient quarter-turn at the time of service could save you headaches down the road. In this case, a new valve had to be installed when the old gate valve failed after it was closed for service and couldn’t be reopened.
Here’s a tip: after a thorough flushing, clean the faucet filters in the lavatory and kitchen fixture spouts. Do this by simply unscrewing the filter, then using an old toothbrush to dislodge sediment and debris that may have built up over time or that may have been stirred up in the draining process. Better yet, replace the filters if they’ve seen better days.