Whether you’re covering up your A/C unit, scheduling a furnace tune up, making sure your attic has enough insulation or installing snow tires on your car, preparing for cold winter weather is an annual ritual for Prior Lake homeowners. However, there’s another system and task to do in your home that you definitely shouldn’t overlook. Do you know the steps to take to prepare your water heater for winter? Read on to find out!

Water Heater Winter Preparation

Storage water heaters are the most common type of residential water heater. Whether your system heats water using natural gas or electricity, their function of heating and reheating stored water is essentially the same.

As hot water is called for at a faucet or appliance, cool water flows into the storage water heater to replenish the supply. The cooler water makes the overall temperature inside the storage water heater drop. The gas burner or electric heating element engages to heat the water back up to the thermostat setting.

It’s a simple process, but it requires all of the parts working together efficiently to keep your hot water flowing. Use the following checklist to make sure your water heater operates safely and efficiently all winter long, and delivers the hot water service you expect.

  • Inspect: Look for rust or corrosion around the water heater. These are signs that you have a leak somewhere, which would require the immediate attention of your plumbing professional.
  • Thermostat temperature: Use a thermometer to check the hot water temperature in your home at the most distant faucet. It should be around 120 degrees for optimal efficiency and hot water service. If it is warmer, such as 135 to 140, turn back your water heater’s thermostat. Wait a few hours and check the temperature again. Another benefit of maintaining hot water at 120 degrees, in addition to saving energy, is to prevent scalding — especially if there are infants or elderly in your home.
  • Insulate: To help boost energy savings and hot water temperature for your faucets, shower and clothes washer, insulate all hot water pipes in your home. This simple step can boost hot water temperature 2 to 4 degrees at the tap and save you energy, time and water.
  • Drain tank: Your storage water heater should be drained every year to remove sediment and mineral deposits. These impurities make your water heater work harder, waste energy and lead to early water heater failure. If you’ve never drained a water heater before, it’s better to let your plumber do the job. Remember, you’re dealing with dozens of gallons of very hot water!

Professional Water Heater Service

Annual professional water heater service is the way to go for continued hot water efficiency, safety and helping your water heater last longer. Include water heater service during your next plumbing inspection, which should be before winter weather settles into Prior Lake.

For more water heater tips or to schedule service with the best plumbing professionals in Minnesota, contact MN Plumbing & Appliance today!