Much like your plumbing system, you likely don’t give your home’s water heater much thought, mainly because you don’t see it every day like you do other appliances such as your washer, dryer, dishwasher and fridge. Because of this, you’ve got to take extra steps to take great care of your water heater. In addition to asking, “how do boilers work,” ask how you can keep them working as well.
Check the Anode Rod, and Consider Installing a Second One
Your water heater’s anode rod is installed to intentionally corrode so that your boiler doesn’t break down and rust prematurely. The rod is wrapped around a steel wire, and if you can start to see the wire through the rod, you’ll want to change the rod. Even better, you can install a second anode rod to boost the overall life expectancy of your water heater. In any case, get into the habit of checking your anode rod(s) at least once a year.
Flush Your Water Heater
While performing your yearly check of the anode rod, you’ll want to flush your water heater while you’re at it. Over time, sediment builds up inside your boiler and can start to wear away at the interior. Flushing gets rid of the buildup as well as its corrosive properties and allows you to get more use out of your heater. All you need to do is hook up a garden hose to your water heater and let it drain out either to the street or into a drain.
Check the Dip Tube
Examine your water heater to see if it has a dip tube, which channels cold water to the bottom of the heater. If you have such a tube, it’s best that you check it every six months or so for signs of corrosion, breaking or cracking. Not comfortable checking your dip tube or unsure of where it is? Call in a professional to help you out and replace it if necessary.
Consider Installing a Pressure Regulating Valve
Having good water pressure is great, but there’s a chance yours is a bit too good. If you check your water pressure and see that it’s more than 90 PSI, do yourself a favor and install a pressure regulating valve so you don’t wear down your water heater faster than necessary through wear and tear. Also, adding an expansion tank along with a regulating valve makes for a great combination.
Recognize the Signs of Trouble
Knowing when your boiler might be having trouble is key to getting ahead of an expensive and avoidable disaster. One of the easiest signs of trouble is that you don’t have as much hot water as you used to before the flow starts to go cold. You could also start to hear noises coming from your water heater, which is often the result of overheating. Finally, you should have your heater inspected if your water has an odd smell or a cloudy appearance.
Take out the time to look after your water heater. A few minutes can go a long way in saving you money as well as frustration.