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The small baby playing in kitchen washbasin at Fort Collins, CO

Water heaters make life so much easier. We depend on them for bathing, for cleaning dishes and for washing clothes. To keep your water heater in top shape, some maintenance is required. Most water heaters come with detailed maintenance instructions but manuals do get lost, and some of them are not exactly user-friendly. Here are a few basic instructions for maintaining your water heater.

Lower the Temperature

Many water heaters are set at 140 degrees at installation, but consider lowering it to 120. This reduces the settlement of mineral deposits. Also, if you have a gas water heater and plan to be away from the house for a week or more, set your dial to the “vacation” setting, which keeps the pilot light on without heating the water. This saves gas, and can extend the life of your water heater by reducing its activity.

Flush the Tank

Over time, sediment, minerals and other debris accumulate in the bottom of your water heater tank. This is especially true in hard water areas. Once or twice a year you should flush the tank to get that stuff out, and improve the life and efficiency of your heater. Have a hose ready. Start by turning off the gas or electricity to the heater. Then, close the valve supplying cold water. Connect the hose to the drain valve. Turn on the hot water at a nearby sink to drain the tank. Once it’s empty, close the drain valve, remove the hose, and open the cold water supply. Then turn on the hot water throughout your house, one at a time, and wait until water flows out from them before restoring power to the heater.

Check Your Anode Rod

The anode rod attracts corrosive minerals and removes them from your system. Look for damage. If it’s too corroded, it can’t effectively do its job and must be replaced. Newer models with a plastic lining may not have this rod.

Test Your TPR Valve

TPR stands for temperature, pressure and relief. They’re designed to automatically open if the temperature or pressure in the heater have risen to dangerous levels. Sometimes these valves can be clogged with mineral deposits or corroded. To inspect it, turn off the gas or electricity to the heater and close the cold water supply valve. Lift the trip lever on the TPR. If this doesn’t release any water, have the device replaced.

If you need professional maintenance for your water heater, call the Allen team. Allen Service has been servicing Fort Collins, CO homes for over five decades. Owners and brothers, Mike and Jeff Allen are the third generation of the Allen family to run the business. They carry out the tradition of delivering excellent customer service and high-quality parts for all plumbing, heating, and air conditioning projects to your home. When you work with Allen Service, you are working with the best!