Your home’s water heater is one of the most reliable appliances in your home. Typically, such a system runs quietly and is rather dependable. In fact, a well-maintained, efficient water heater can last for a decade or more. Of course, that lifespan is reliant on a proper maintenance schedule. If you forego water heater maintenance and prompt repairs, you’re looking at a much shorter lifespan. It’s best to schedule maintenance services from a professional plumber. You’ll find your water heater is more efficient and operates at peak performance year-round!
Reduce the Water Heater Temperature
A brand-new water heater, even one professionally installed, is pre-set to a temperature of 140-degrees Fahrenheit. However, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, the recommended temperature for such a system is around 120-degree Fahrenheit. For most households, this simple temperature reduction can lead to significantly reduced energy costs. In fact, you may find yourself saving as much as $400 per year. Furthermore, a lower temperature means less chance of scalding yourself or your children in the shower or bath.
To lower the temperature on your water heater, we also recommend hiring a professional plumber. If you do not have the time or money, follow these steps carefully:
- Shut off the power to your water heater by switching the corresponding breaker in the breaker box.
- Remove the thermostat access panel and adjust the temperature (often requiring a flathead screwdriver) to the recommended 120-degrees Fahrenheit.
- Replace the thermostat cover and turn the power back on.
These steps are for an electric water heater. Some electric models have two thermostats (upper and lower). Simply set the lower thermostat to the same temperature as the upper thermostat for the results you seek.
Water Heater Maintenance Tips
You’ve now set your water heater to the proper temperature for increased savings and lifespan. Now, here are a few more maintenance tips to run your system at optimal performance.
- Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how and when to perform water heater maintenance.
- Pay attention to your home’s hot water. If you notice a drop in water pressure or availability of hot water, or perhaps even unusual sounds, then your water heater may be having some troubles.
- Understand your water heater and its primary components. You may need to adjust the water temperature (see above), shut off the power, or close the water shutoff valve at some point. Knowing your system will make such tasks easier.
- Regarding safety, wear appropriate gloves and goggles when working around your water heater.
- Draining the water heater tank on occasion helps reduce sediment, minerals, and debris known to corrode or ruin your tank. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for draining a tank. Typically, professional plumbers recommend once or twice per year.