The Unfiltered Blog

May 24, 2016

Keep the hot water running with these simple maintenance tips

By Chuck Gassmann, CEO

hot water

Imagine this. It’s Friday night — you’re fresh off a crazy week filled with meetings and soccer practices and fundraisers. Your kids are at a sleepover and you sent your spouse out with some friends, so you can have some alone time. You start to run the water for a nice, hot bath. Except the water keeps running without ever getting hot.

Don’t let an aging water heater ruin a relaxing night or a busy morning scrambling to get out the door. Read these tips below for maintaining and replacing a water heater.

Maintaining your current water heater
As with any equipment, water heaters require regular maintenance to function properly and to extend the life of your investment. As a homeowner, you can do a visual inspection.

  • Check your water heater to ensure there’s no sitting water underneath it.
  • Check the water heater’s vent for signs of wear. This includes rust and scaling.

You should have your water heater inspected by a professional at least once a year to make sure it’s functioning properly. Your service technician will clean and inspect the following components of your water heater:

  • The burners
  • A safety device known as the relief valve
  • The pilot light
  • The vents

Signs it’s time to replace your water heater
The average lifespan of a water heater is between 10 and 12 years. There are many factors that can affect this lifecycle including how well the equipment is maintained and the quality of water that goes into the water heater. Even the well-maintained water heaters will need to be replaced at some point. Watch for these signs that it’s time to replace your water heater.

  • If you notice water dripping out of the relief valve, this in an indication that the water heater is operating at too high of a temperature in order to heat the water. This creates unnecessary pressure on the equipment, which results in the dripping.
  • Listen for a rumbling noise coming from your water heater. The noise means that there is lime buildup at the bottom of the water heater and the water is boiling up through the lime.
  • Remember that hot bath that never was? When you have less and less hot water over time, that’s a sign that you need a new water heater. When you start a shower with hot water and the water’s running cold by the end, your water heater probably needs to be replaced.
  • When a water heater begins to fail, it will start dripping water from the bottom. Sitting water underneath may indicate you need a new water heater.
  • Check the water heater’s vent for signs of wear. This includes rust and scaling.

Bell Brothers offers annual maintenance programs that include inspection of your water heater and all your other HVAC equipment for you.