Your water heater just sits there and doesn’t really do all that much unless you call providing hot water for dishes, showers, laundry, and more much.  We do!  It does requires some periodic maintenance like most everything else does.  Here are some of the important water heater maintenance tips.

Temperature & Pressure Relief Valve  – This valve prevents your hot water heater from exploding if either the interior temperature or pressure exceed safe limits. This should be checked once a year to ensure that dangerous buildup does not occur.  To check the valve simply pull up on the handle.   Water should flow freely out, and stop when the handle is released.  If no water comes out call Top Rank Home Services right away.  This is when the valve should be replaced by a qualified technician.  The drain line for the temperature & pressure valve should go down and out; never up.  If the drain line points upwards, water can pool in the line when the valve opens, and corrode it shut.  At least once a year, the hot water heater should be flushed through the valve in order to eliminate any sediment that has built up in the bottom of the tank.  Turn the water heater off, and attach a garden hose to the drain valve at the bottom of the tank, then empty several gallons of water into a bucket or floor drain.

Vents  – Hot water heater vents are designed to prevent build up of dangerous fumes and carbon monoxide.  Vents should be the same diameter as the tank’s draft diverter, and should go straight up and out.  If the vent passes through any walls or roof spaces, it should be double-walled.  Any single-walled sections should be screwed in place.  Direct-vented heaters should go out the side wall; power-heater vents offer more options, as a fan blows the fumes out.

If you see soot on top of the heater or burner, this may be an indication that carbon monoxide is inside your house.  Call Top Rank Home Services right away at 916-667-3399. This could be an immediate danger and should be handled by a professional. Other issues such as rust flakes around the top of the water heater can indicate that water is dripping back down the vent pipe.  Finding this may mean that the vent hood may be missing or the vent is not be working correctly.  This may be dangerous since the vent is not moving all of the exhaust gases to the outdoors.

Certain chemicals such as bleach or pool cleaners should not be stored in the same area as the water heater, as they will cause vent pipes to corrode.

Anode Rod  – Anode rods are aluminum or magnesium rods that are suspended inside the water tank.  Over time chemical reactions causes these rods to corrode while the steel tank remains intact. Without this rod the same electrochemical reactions would corrode the water tank itself.  Every two to five years we suggest you replace your anode rod.

Combustion Chamber  – The combustion chamber is located at the bottom of the water heater.  This area must be free of any combustible materials, as well as dust or debris.  The combustion chamber draws air up inside and provides oxygen for the flame that heats the water inside the tank.  If there is any dust or dirt under the tank, this can get drawn up into the combustion chamber, causing a dangerous back draft and fouling the burner.  The combustion chamber should be regularly checked for soot buildup, either by removing the outer hatch on an older water heater, or by looking through a small window on newer models.

We are Top Rank Home & Construction Services.  We serve you in the Elk Grove, Galt, Lodi, Stockton and Modesto areas with HAVC, Roofing, Windows, Insulation, Lighting, Concrete, Painting and Construction Services.  Call us at 916-667-3399 or at 209-251-7474 or just visit www.toprankhomeservices.com  We are the team with a plan!