Gas Fired Water Heater Maintenance
A Tank Based Gas Fired Water Heater is a unit which has a holding tank that holds heated water; further this water is heated by a gas fed flame.
Did you know that there are measures you can take to increase the life expectancy of your home’s gas fired tank based Water Heater? The following maintenance tips will decrease the likelihood of a catastrophic failure of the unit. The below maintenance should ideally be performed once a year.
Look for Leaks – check the Drain Valve for any water leakage. The drain valve is located at the bottom of the unit. If the drain valve is leaking it will need to be replaced. Check the owner’s guide book that came with the water heater for instructions on how to replace this valve or call a plumber to have this done.
Check for Air Flow Blockage – check under the water heater to be sure there is not a buildup of dust blocking the air flow to the unit.
Check the anode rod for excess corrosion – if the rod is excessively corroded replace with a new anode rod. Check the owner’s guide book that came with the water heater for instructions on how to replace this valve or call a plumber to have this done.
Test the pressure-relief valve which is located on the top or side of the water heater. This valve is supposed to automatically open if the pressure inside the tank gets too high. Testing this valve is important because if it does not properly open, excess pressure can cause the tank to explode. To test the valve, first place a bucket below the discharge pipe on your water heater tank and gently lift the lever on the pressure-relief valve.
If the valve doesn’t release water when you lift the lever the valve will need to be replaced. Check the owner’s guide book that came with the water heater for instructions on how to replace this valve or call a plumber to have this done.
Drain sediments from the water heater tank. Periodically flushing the sediments out from the bottom of your water heater tank is important because sediment buildup shortens the life of your water heater and adds to your energy bill by reducing its efficiency. Draining two or three gallons of water is usually enough to flush out sediments, but always let water flow until you no longer see particles in the bucket. Open the drain valve slowly and let the water run until it’s clear and free of sediments. Don’t worry about any gurgling or groaning noises coming from the heater. That sound is just air entering the system as water drains out. If the drain valve won’t close tightly when your done (i.e. leaks), the drain valve will need to be replaced. Again, check the owner’s guide book that came with the water heater for instructions on how to replace this valve or call a plumber to have this done.
Set your water heater’s dial to 120 degrees F. If the dial does not have numbers, check the water temperature with a cooking thermometer. High temperatures increase sediment buildup and as well as the risk of scalding injuries.
If you do not feel comfortable attempting these annual maintenance procedures on your own you can always call a plumber who can come out and perform these maintenance procedures for you.
While annual maintenance will help to extend the life of your water heater it should be noted that tank based water heaters have a life expectancy of between 10 – 15 years and therefore will need to be periodically replaced. It is important that you replace your Water Heater before it fails. The most common failure that will occur, once your tank based water heater has reached the end of its life expectancy, is that the water tank will rot out from the inside and spill the contents of the tank all over the floor where the unit is located.
Robert A. Davis