Winter Water Heater Prep: 5 Effortless Tips

Is Your Water Heater Up For Winter’s Demands?

water heater care pennsylvaniaAs winter draws near here in the Delmarva region, many of us our getting our homes ready for the coming cold weather.

Perhaps you have gotten an annual maintenance tune-up for your home’s furnace or boiler. (Note: By the way, if you haven’t, there’s still time! Contact us to get on the schedule.) You’ve bought driveway de-icer and new snow shovels. You’ve added entry rugs to keep shoes and boots from tracking snow and mud into the house.

But don’t forget about your water heater! It needs to be ready for winter, too. Here are five things to do to make sure your equipment is ready to roll:

1. Adjust the temperature

Most water heaters come with a factory preset temperature of 140˚ Fahrenheit. That high a temperature is not necessarily needed, and may be dangerous, as it can lead to scalding injuries. Infants, children, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to scalding.
Turn the temperature down to 120˚. It’s safer, but your water will still be plenty hot. And you’ll reduce your water heating energy costs by up to 10% by doing so.

2. Flush the tank

Corrosion is a major cause of water heater tank failure. Sediment collecting at the bottom of your water heater tank can cause that corrosion. It also makes it more difficult for the system to heat the water, making it less efficient—while driving up your energy costs.

Flushing the tank is easy. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Attach a hose to the drain valve, which is located near the bottom of the water tank. Put the other end of the hose in a floor drain or outdoors in a spot where the water will easily drain.
  2. Shut off the water supply to the tank.
  3. Shut off the power to the water heater or, if you use a propane water heater, set the thermostat to “pilot.”
  4. Open the drain valve.
  5. When the tank is empty, briefly turn on the water supply to stir up the sediment at the bottom of the tank so it will drain out.
  6. Repeat until the water runs clear, then close the drain valve and turn the water heater back to its normal settings.

3. Insulate the tank

Imagine being outside in the cold—without a coat on. You get cold fast, right? Now imagine wearing a coat. You stay warmer. The same idea applies to your water heater.
An insulating blanket on your water heater tank and around pipes help prevent heat loss, meaning your water heater won’t have to run as frequently to keep your water hot. That’s less wear for your water heater and energy savings for you! You’ll be able to find details on a fit for your model through your manufacturer.

4. Check the anode rod

The anode rod is critical to protecting your water heater storage tank, as it draws the corrosion process to itself rather than the tank lining. That’s why you may hear the anode rod referred to as the “sacrificial rod.”

Anode rods last about five years on average with routine or “normal” usage. But if you use a water softener, that lifespan shrinks a great deal. Once your anode rod is depleted, your tank is vulnerable to corrosion and, eventually, it will fail. Since replacing an anode rod is a lot cheaper than replacing your water heater, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it. Checking your anode rod takes a few minutes—see your water heater owner’s manual for details.

5. Get a water heater maintenance tune-up

You get your furnace or boiler tuned up regularly (if not, you should!). Your water heater also needs attention. It should get a maintenance tune-up every two years. This gives the professional service technicians at Poore’s Propane a chance to thoroughly go over your water heater and fix any problems before they get worse. We’ll also give you an honest assessment if your water heater needs to be replaced.

Our equipment experts will help you upgrade to a quality water heater that not only takes care of your family’s hot water needs but fits your budget and offers increased energy efficiency. And in accordance with local and national guidelines, we offer 100% contactless service.

Contact us to get started on upgrading to a new water heater! And don’t forget to ask about our selection of tankless water heaters for endless hot water, on-demand.