Maintaining Your Water Heater: the Basics

It’s always a good idea to have a professional do regular maintenance on your water heater. The high pressure involved with these systems, the combustible nature of gas water heaters and the additional issues involved with electric units mean they’re potentially hazardous, and a DIY job can put your entire home at risk. There are a few things you can do to maintain your water heater, but they don’t replace annual service done by a professional. Here’s what you can do:

Test the pressure valve

For safety reasons, every water heater has a pressure-relief valve. Under normal conditions, the relief valve opens on its own when the pressure inside the system builds to unsafe levels. Testing the valve is simple. First, find the valve; it’s usually on the side of the heater or on top, and then lift the lever. A small amount of water should trickle out, so have a bucket in place to catch it. If it doesn’t release any water, the valve isn’t working properly. Contact an expert immediately to assess the condition of the system and the safety valve.

Drain the tank

During professional maintenance, your technician will fully flush the system, but you can do a flush yourself to remove sediment between appointments. First, shut off the incoming water pipe. Run a hot-water faucet somewhere in your home to relieve internal pressure. Let this faucet run until you complete the process. Position a bucket underneath the drain valve, and attach a garden hose to the valve. Open the valve, and let the water run until it no longer contains sediment. You may want to have a few more buckets close by in case you need to drain several gallons from the system. Then close the valve, remove the hose and empty the bucket. Turn off the faucet that’s running, and turn the cold-water inlet pipe back on.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve had an expert take a look at your water heater, contact Beyer Boys to schedule a maintenance appointment. We’ve served greater San Antonio since 1990.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Antonio, Texas area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).