Your new water heater has significantly improved your home plumbing. However, just like your last one, your new water heater is prone to developing issues that can cause permanent damage if you don't begin a preventative maintenance schedule from day one. Here are three problems that will cause permanent damage to your water heater and how to prevent them:
Your home's water supply contains a small volume of sediment and minerals—even after being treated at your local water plant. When these contaminants enter your tank, they'll flow through your dip tube towards the bottom of the tank. Since water is drawn from a tube at the top of your tank, these contaminants will be given time to collect at the bottom of your tank.
Although a small amount of debris buildup won't cause any serious harm, it will reduce your tank's capacity. Additionally, once the buildup of debris in your tank rises a few inches, it will either burn out your electric heating elements or significantly reduce the efficiency of your gas burner assembly.
Luckily, debris buildup can be prevented by regularly draining your water tank. Screw a garden hose onto the drain valve near the base of your tank. Close the water supply valve on the inlet pipe above your tank and shut off the gas or power to your tank. To ensure efficient drainage, pull the lever on your temperature and pressure relief valve.
Once these steps have been taken, simply open your drain valve and let the debris and water inside your tank drain through your hose. Continue letting water drain from your tank until the water flowing out of your hose is crystal clear.
You're not done yet—as water drained from your tank, air entered through your relief valve. Which leads into the next problem capable of damaging your water heater:
If you have an electric water heater, then air pockets spell disaster for your heating elements. If one of your elements is even partially exposed to air, then it runs the risk of burning out and failing, since your elements rely on the water in your tank for cooling.
After you've finished draining your tank, close your drain valve and restore the water supply. However, don't close your temperature and pressure relief valve just yet—if you do, you'll leave a large volume of air trapped inside your tank.
Let your water tank fill with water and heat for anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. (the specific duration will depend on your water pressure and tank capacity). Once water begins to drip out of your relief valve, close it and run hot water through a few of your home's water fixtures. By performing these seemingly-useless tasks, you will ensure that your entire tank is refilled with water and all air pockets escape through your relief valve.
The minerals in your water supply won't only collect at the base of your tank—they'll also corrode your anode rod.
Limestone, calcium, and several other minerals will corrode the metal components inside your tank. However, to counteract this, your tank uses an anode rod—a long rod made from a noble metal. The corrosive minerals that enter your tank will attack the noble metal in your anode before they attack your dip tube, heating elements, and tank lining.
Depending on the quality and temperature of your water, your anode can last anywhere from several months to several years. However, once your anode corrodes down to its core, it will no longer serve as an effective corrosion deterrent. When this happens, you must replace it immediately.
Use a breaker bar and 1-1/16" socket to break loose the anode bolt on the lid of your tank. Pull the bolt out of your tank to inspect your anode. If it's significantly corroded, or if it has calcium deposits, then purchase a replacement anode from your local home improvement or hardware store. Wrap the threading on the replacement anode with several layers of plumber's tape before tightening it into your tank's lid.
Draining debris, eliminating air pockets, and regularly replacing your anode rod will keep your new water heater in near perfect condition. However, if you have trouble performing any of these repairs, then hire your local water heater service to make sure the job is finished correctly.
How old is the front door on your home? Have you ever walked past the door and felt a cool breeze coming from under it? Could it be time to replace your front door, or can you repair the one that you have? My site is filled with advice and tips for learning when to replace and when to repair a front door. You can learn from my personal experience of living in older homes how to know when it is time to call it quits on the old stuff and invest in new. Hopefully, my failures and successes can help you avoid the failures and go straight for the success.