The water heater in your home is likely to be one of the most overlooked and underappreciated appliances you own. But it is also one that has your complete attention when it fails. No one is happy about taking a cold shower or cleaning up water from a leaking water heater. And sadly, many of these unpleasant experiences could have been avoided if you were aware of the primary care and service required to keep your water heater healthy, happy, and heating your home’s water.

Water Heaters 101

First, it is essential that you have some basic information about your home’s water heater. Knowing its location and how to shut off the power and water supply is vital. There will either be an electrical breaker labeled for the water heater with an electric unit or a gas shut-off valve if you have a natural gas or propane unit. Regardless of the unit’s power, all traditional water heaters have a valve on the supply line to turn off the water to the tank. If you are not family with all of these features, ask a handy friend for help or have your plumber show you these essential items on his or her next visit. All of this information will be vital in the event of a water heater emergency.

Be Aware

Pay attention to the temperature of your hot water each day. In most cases, the unit will not stop working one random day. You will notice a slight decline in the temperature of the water. Or you might discover one day that the water is considerably hotter than it has been in the past. Both of these are indications of a problem that will need the attention of a licensed plumber. If you notice a strange odor or tint to your hot water, it is also time to call in a pro. These oddities indicate that there is contamination in the holding tank. And if taken care of quickly, it could save you the expense of a new water heater.

A Monthly Meeting

Your water heater does not need much regular attention. But by taking just a few minutes each month to inspect the unit, you could save yourself many issues in the future. The holding tank on your water heater is not going to shatter one day and dump 50 or more gallons of water on the floor. Instead, it will develop a tiny imperfection due to corrosion or rust. Initially, it might only seep a small amount of water. And that is the time to discover the issue, not when it is a large crack that is dumping water on the floor. Also, look for leaks in the valves, drain, and piping around the unit.

Annual Maintenance

Your water heater should be drained and flushed once a year to maximize its life expectancy. This process removes all of the sediment and minerals from inside the tank that can promote corrosion. The materials settle to the lower part of the tank and act as an insulator around the heating element. So if you notice your water is not quite as hot as it once was, draining and flushing the tank could be a very cost-effective solution.

If you have never drained and flushed your water heater, call (512) 910-8123 to schedule an appointment with a Parobek Plumbing licensed plumber. Our pros will check out the entire unit. And answer any questions you might have about the proper care of your water heater and how to shut it off in the event of an emergency.

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