Hot showers, clean dishes, and spotless laundry all come from one source: your water heater. Without hot water, your showers would be really uncomfortable and your dishes would be grimy! Maintaining your water heater is important because a leak could not only cost you time and money, but also comfort. Here are a few steps you can take that will keep your house running smoothly!

Adjust the water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees.

For every 10 degrees you adjust lower, you can save up to 5% in energy costs. Lowering the thermostat will also cut down the risk of scalding water. If you have a gas-fueled water heater and you are leaving town, switch the mode to vacation which will keep the pilot light on without heating the water. You don’t want the temperature to drop too low, set your home’s water heater to 120 degrees!

Clean your water heater tank.

You’ll want to clean out your water heaters tank every few months. Cleaning out the tank gets rid of dirt and debris in the water and also reduces the noise caused by the water heater. To do this you’ll need to empty out a fourth of the water. First, turn off the cold water supply valve and attach a garden hose to the drain valve. Run the water out until it turns from cloudy to clear. If the water remains cloudy after more than a fourth of the tank, open up the supply valve to stir up the sediment and then drain it again.

Allow clearance around the water heater.

A general rule of thumb is a clearance of two feet around the water heater. Keeping cords, boxes and debris close to the water heater can potentially be fire hazards. Since some water heaters are run by gas, keep cans of paint, gasoline and anything that gives off fumes far away from the water heater.

Test your water heater’s safety release valve.

Testing the safety release valve annually will make sure that excess pressure doesn’t build up inside and cause problems. To do this, release the valve two to three times and watch for leaks after you test the valve.

Maintaining your home’s water heater will ensure that your house runs well and stays on schedule with plenty of hot water for showers and laundry. If you are concerned about how your water heater is running, or think you may have a problem call MN Plumbing and Home Services at (612) 326-0013!