Tips to Help Keep Your Water Heater Up and Running this Winter
There is nothing worse in the cold of winter than having your water heater be on the fritz. Taking cold showers and having to pay out the nose to keep this essential piece of home equipment fixed is not a fun undertaking. Although there is nothing that can be done to prevent freak accidents with your water heater, there are some routine maintenance and checks that can be done to make sure the equipment stays up and running and does not suffer from any avoidable problems during the winter months.
Test Temperature Relief
Testing the water heater’s temperature relief is a good way to spot any issues with the equipment before it cause huge problems. To test this, place a drainage bucket below the extension pipe. Open the valve and water should begin to flow, then close the valve and make sure the water stops flowing. If this is not the case, contact a professional plumbing technician to come out and check the problem. Also, make sure to set the unit’s thermostat to the recommended 120 degree Fahrenheit setting.
Special Maintenance for Gas Heaters
If your home has a gas heater, there are some special maintenance checks you can do to make sure it continues to run properly. First, give the water shut off valve a regular twist to make sure it does not seize and lock into place. Next, set the gas valve to “pilot” to help prevent the burners from turning on during the flushing process. Finally, make sure the flue is properly draining air – to do this, light a match near the bell housing and watch the smoke. If the flue is draining properly, the smoke will go up the flue.
Ensure Burner is Operating Correctly
Another area you can check to make sure the water heater continues to run properly is making sure the burner is operating correctly. To do this, remove the flame shield. Move away from the unit and turn up the temperature – it will get very hot, so make sure to keep your distance from the unit. Look at the flames in the heater and ensure they are burning steadily and a blue or white color. If this is not the case, contact a professional technician to help resolve the issue before the water heater stops working.
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