How to Protect Your Water Heater This Winter

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Posted December 6, 2017

Most homeowners don’t know how important water heater maintenance is until there’s a problem. Unaddressed issues with your water heater, especially during the winter months, can lead to significant and costly problems. You may end up without any hot water for a period of time, or a burst pipe could cause leaks that lead to rot, structural damage and flooding. Follow these tips to help protect your hot water heater this winter and prevent any additional cold weather issues! 

Insulate Your Pipes

Insulating the pipes attached to your water heater is one of the easiest ways to cut costs associated with heating water in your home and preventing frozen pipes. When your pipes are exposed, they have to work much harder to maintain heat and provide hot water. Insulating them makes it easier and quicker for your water heater to provide you with hot water (a necessity in the winter!), and it will cut down on your energy costs; win-win. Plus, if you’re not running the water for a long time waiting for it to heat up, you’re conserving water and saving money on your water/sewage bill. 

Make sure to also check anything near your water heater that could cause a draft such as open windows, doors and crawl spaces.

Learn more in our blog post about Preventing Freezing Pipes.

Check the Water Temperature

The temperature of your water heater should read somewhere between 115 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Lowering the temperature even a few degrees will save you money on your monthly bills. You can turn your water heater up if you are having trouble getting hot water, but do not exceed 125 degrees, as this may create a scalding hazard.

Flush Your System

To keep your water heater running properly and extend the life of your unit, you should flush out your system at least once a year. Sediment that has built up on the bottom of the tank can reduce the amount of water your water tank can hold, reducing the overall efficiency of your unit. This buildup can also cause rust and clog the drain valve. Contact a professional to help you with this – trust us, you don’t want to get into that mess. That’s what our guys are for!

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

Both gas and electric water heaters include a pressure relief valve as a safety device. The point of the valve is to open and release pressure in case the water heater becomes over pressurized. You can check this yourself by lifting the valve halfway. When released, the valve should automatically snap back into place. If this does not happen, you should contact a professional to make sure your pressure relief valve is working properly. 

Paying attention to your water heater can ensure you have wonderful, hot water throughout the winter, as well as help to avoid potential issues associated with cold weather. All of these tips are sure to help protect your hot water heater this winter and extend the life of it! If you find yourself in an emergency situation, contact Hiller, and we will have one of our qualified technicians to your home in no time! 

Discover more tips in our blog post on water heater efficiency.

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