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Follow These Steps to Prepare Your Water Heater for the New Year

You use your water heater throughout the year to cook and take a shower, and appliances like the dishwasher and washing machine use hot water to wash the dishes and clean your clothes.

It’s easy to forget about the water heater until the water in your house won’t get hot. That’s when you call a plumber, but you can avoid that happening with regularly scheduled maintenance. Follow these steps to make sure your water heater will be there for you whenever you need it throughout the new year.

Make Sure the Temperature Is Set No Higher Than 120 Degrees Fahrenheit

To ensure that the water coming out of the faucet never gets so hot that it’s scalding, set the water temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Many manufacturers will set it at 140 degrees, but for the average family, this is too hot.

Test the Temperature/Pressure Valve

The TPR valve ensures that there is the right temperature/pressure balance in the water heater. Put a bucket beneath the discharge tube and lift the valve to let water run out for a few seconds. Remember, the water is hot! After a few seconds, gently lower the valve back down again. If water keeps leaking, that’s a sign of a problem.

Drain and Flush

Sediment builds up at the bottom of the water heater tank and needs to be drained every year.

  1. Locate and unplug the recirculation pump.
  2. Put the water heater on “Pilot” for a gas heater, or simply unplug the water heater if it’s electric.
  3. Shut off the water supply.
  4. Connect a hose to the drainpipe.
  5. Place the other end of the hose into a bucket.
  6. Open the drain valve at the bottom of the tank.
  7. Let air into the tank with the pressure relief valve.
  8. Let the tank drain completely.

Insulate the Water Heater With Foam or an Insulating Blanket

Use slip-on foam or an insulation blanket to cover the pipes and all other exposed parts of the water heater. Before you start:

  • Contact the utility company in case they have specific guidelines you should follow.
  • Turn off the water heater.
  • Look for damage and/or leaks around the water heater – if you notice a problem, contact a plumber.

Be sure to wear gloves, safety glasses, a long-sleeved shirt, and a mask.

Keep Your Water Heater Working for You All Year Long

If you notice a problem with your device, contact one of our licensed plumbers at Freedom Flow in Scranton, PA to determine if it needs water heater repairs. You can rely on us to get your water heater up and running in no time.