7 maintenance Tips for Water Heaters

1 Water heater Preparation Turn off the power if the heater is gas. Turn off the water by closing the valve onto the cold water line to the water heater. The location on top of the water heater. Always the cold line is to the right. Open a tap of hot water into the room. Air pressure gets out of the tap. Open the drain valve located at the water heater’s base. This seems like a bibb for the pants. Let out of the water heater a gallon, or more. For the time you work on the water heater, don’t encourage anyone to use hot water.click to read more

2 Removing sediment by dissolving it With a descaler called Mag-Erad you will dissolve sediment. It has been made by A.O. Smith who also constructs water heaters. Use the directions that come with this descaler, but ignore the section on which to put the gas water heater. Turn off the flame and set it to PILOT. The heat inside the water heater without water can damage the gas systems. Lye may also be used to remove sediment. Its volatile and very flammable. A plumber should only use that chemicals.

3 Controlling sediment If you use softer water, you can keep the sediment under control. Salt softened water only reduces sediment; it does not eliminate the problem and causes another problem as well. Life expectancy of anode rods is reduced from 50 to 65 per cent. At 140 degrees the sediment grows rapidly. Legionnaires’ disease can grow at temperatures as low as 115 degrees. To keep both of these problems at bay, its best to set your water heater at 130 degrees. Legionnaires ‘ Disease is actually caused by inhaling water vapor rather than drinking infected water. Still, in hospitals the plumbing should be regularly filled with 170 degree water to kill all remaining bacteria.

4 Check water heater plumbing fittings Check any threaded connections on your water heater for possible leaks. Threaded connections are located on the top of the water heater for both the hot and cold lines running to and from the water heater. The T&P valve which is on to one side of the water heater, may become leaky. It has a plastic pipe connecting it and has a loose metal switch which can be lifted to stand on end. The drain valve can leak. It is at the bottom of the water heater and often looks like a hose bib. The thermostat controls for both gas water heaters and electric water heaters can leak.

5 Steel connections Rust can occur if steel touches copper or brass. The rust occurs on the steel only on not on the copper or brass. Copper and brass are noble to steel on the Periodic Table. To control this problem on a water heater use a steel nipple with a plastic lining. This allows the water heater, which is steel to touch the steel nipple with no problem. The steel nipple with plastic lining can also touch any copper plumbing because the plastic prevents them from touching. Dielectric unions can also touch steel nipples since their function is to prevent rusting or corrosion.

6 Broken nipples If the nipple breaks when you remove it with a pipe wrench, grab a flat-end screwdriver and a hammer. Hit the circle opening with the screwdriver and hammer and bend in the ring. Now use the screw driver to pry up the broken nipple. Use a hacksaw blade only to cut the opening slot to the threads if the screwdriver doesn’t do the trick. Clean the threads with a pipe tap. Now wrap the new nipple with teflon tap on the threads and install it.

7 Electric heating elements To check the electric heating elements on an electric water heater, locate the two ports in the front of the water heater. Sometimes there’s only one port, but nonetheless, you need to remove them. Here you can see the heating elements are screwed or bolted into the water heater and kept water-tight by a rubber gasket. Remove the element, but only if you’ve drained the water heater and turned the power off first. Replace the gasket if the rubber has turned hard. Wrap the element with teflon tape if it has threads. Put the tape on the threads and wrap it a couple of times. Hard scale can build-up directly on an electric element. This is rare but it can happen. Scale usually just sloughs off elements and falls to the bottom of the water heater. If enough scale (also known as sediment) falls to the bottom of the water heater, it could bury the lower element. There are two types of heating elements, the high-watt density element and the low-watt density element. The high-watt sloughs sediment off more easily but the total amount of sediment is greater due to the higher temperatures.