When the snow settles over Pennsylvania, it makes everything look clean and cheerful. The season also brings freezing temperatures though that have a big effect on your home, especially some of your appliances. You don’t want to deal with freezing water on a cold morning, which is why you need to take care of your water heater with some simple maintenance tips.
1. Give It Room
Water heaters are often in basements and utility rooms filled with a lot of clutter. It’s easy to place things in the room without thinking about it. Water heaters produce a lot of warm air and can run hot, becoming a fire hazard. Winter is a good time to give the appliance some space. Remove anything that’s nearby to add at least 2 feet of clearance.
2. Use Insulation
The temperature outside makes the inside of your home feel colder. While the water heater makes the hot water you need, it can take a long time to increase the temperature because the pipes are cold. Insulation blocks out the cold and helps the water heater stay warmer. That way, the appliance won’t need to work as hard to deliver the hot water you want.
3. Change the Temperature
Do you notice that your water comes out cooler in winter than it normally does, even if you add insulation? Changing the temperature is a good way to fix the problem. You don’t need to crank it up all the way and risk burning your loved ones. Try raising the temperature by just a few degrees, and see if the water gets hot faster. You can keep adjusting the temperature to find the right balance.
4. Flush the Heater
You need to flush your water heater a few times a year. Sediment that comes in with the water builds up inside the tank; this reduces its efficiency and can lead to other problems. A bucket and a hose are all you need. Place the hose on the heater’s drain valve, and turn on the water. You may need to empty the bucket a few times to drain the tank. Keep the water running until it comes out clear.
5. Clean the Vents
The heater’s exhaust vents can become clogged with snow and ice in the winter. You may find other debris forced into the vents. Inspect them for clogs and remove any debris you find. It’s also helpful to clean the air intake vents. If you see any signs of wild animals, add fencing to block their access.
Winter is a good time to design a maintenance program for your water heater. Make sure the program includes adding insulation, flushing the tank, cleaning the vents, changing the temperature, and giving it space. For professional water heater maintenance, reach out to us at G. I. Plumbing in Bethel Park, PA.