Hot water is something most of us take for granted – that is until some fateful morning when we step into the shower, still half asleep, and a cold burst of water makes us shriek and leap out. Talk about a wake-up call!
To keep the hot water flowing, water heaters need to be properly maintained. Not only will this help minimize the chances of a cold water surprise – or worse, in-home flooding – but it will help ensure the safety, efficiency, and longevity of the water heater, all while saving you money and conserving California water.
Hot Water Heater Maintenance in Sacramento, California
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, hard water is common in Sacramento and its surrounding areas. Water is considered “hard” if it contains relatively high levels of calcium and magnesium. Though hard water is not known to cause adverse health effects (in fact, calcium and magnesium are essential nutrients), it can have an adverse effect on your water heater when these minerals build up.
Because of the hard water in the Sacramento area, water heaters require regular maintenance and monitoring. Annual flushing of the heater is important to prevent the quick build-up of large amounts of calcium and magnesium inside a water heater, which can create blockages (build-up can eventually turn into large rocks that get stuck in the system and cannot come out of the water heater). Due to Sacramento's hard water, a bi-annual maintenance schedule is highly recommended.
Corrosion is another big concern. Also known as “metal’s biggest enemy,” corrosion is common in water heaters where metal, water, and oxygen mix; it’s the perfect formula for the chemical reaction that leads to corrosion. The good news is that most water heaters are designed with corrosion in mind. Modern water heaters have the following protections:
- Glass-lined interior tank walls
- A special device called an anode rod that attracts corrosion to it rather than the tank walls
- An overfill tank to create an air cushion for water pressure without allowing oxygen into the tank
Of course, these protections cannot prevent corrosion entirely, and eventually, corrosion will lead to leaking. So, aside from reducing mineral and sediment buildup, preventative maintenance on a hot water heater can help curb corrosion before it spreads, weakens the metal, and begins flooding your flooring.
6 Reasons to Properly Maintain Your Water Heater
Water heater maintenance helps ensure the efficiency of your system. Without proper maintenance, over time the build-up of loose minerals will settle on the bottom of your water heater, making it strain to produce hot water. In a gas water heater, these minerals can create hot spots that cause tank damage and failure; in an electric water heater, they can cause the lower heating element to fail. Flushing your tank during a maintenance inspection will remove these minerals, which will maintain or even increase its efficiency.
2. Conserve Water
When our water heater is operating inefficiently, water gets wasted. How many times have you let the shower or sink run (and run…) in order for the water to warm up? This is wasteful, especially in California where drought conditions have resulted in regulators adopting new water restriction mandates.
3. Save Money
Flushing your water heater helps ensure it is functioning properly, improving efficiency which reduces your home’s energy use (clean water heaters use less energy). As a result, and the fact that you’ll get hot water without having to run the tap forever, your utility bills may be lowered.
4. Extend Longevity
A typical water heater has a lifespan of about 8-12 years. With annual or bi-annual maintenance, which can turn up easily fixable issues before they become major problems requiring unit replacement, you can extend the lifetime of your water heater by years, giving you a much better return on your investment.
5. Eliminate Surprises
The aforementioned cold water shower surprise may be the least of your worries if you don’t properly maintain your water heater. Much worse is coming to a flooded home (and ruined carpet or flooring) due to a broken water heater.
6. Maintain Full Volume
Sediment and mineral build-up take up space in your heater, reducing the amount of water the tank can hold. With regular flushing, you can eliminate build-up and gain full use of the water tank, increasing the hot water volume of your water heater.
7. Improve Safety
Water heaters have safety devices that require annual testing, such as temperature and pressure valves that protect your water heater from extremes by discharging water. In addition, it’s important to test the relief valve of your water heater to prevent anyone from being scalded or burned.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
Tankless water heaters don’t use storage tanks like typical water heaters. Instead, they produce hot water on demand, pulling water directly from the source and rapidly heating it on its way to your shower or faucet. But, just because there’s no tank doesn’t mean there’s no maintenance required. Tankless water heaters should also be serviced once a year (ideally, twice a year due to Sacramento’s hard water). Maintenance involves flushing the system to remove buildup in the lines and cleaning the air and water filter. This will help to ensure that all the components in the heater work as they should.
For Water Heater Maintenance or Replacement, Call Express Sewer & Drain!
Until we come home to a flooded floor or are rudely awakened in the morning by a cold water shower, we don’t think much about our hot water heaters. Rather than wait for an emergency, put your water heater on a regular maintenance schedule. Not only will it help you avoid unpleasant and sometimes costly surprises, but it can also save you money, water, and a lot of headaches. For hot water heater maintenance and hot water heater repair, you know who to call in Sacramento – the professionals at Express Sewer & Drain (We’ve even thrown in some coupon offers to help with the hot water heater replacement cost or maintenance!).
Topics: Water Heaters