There is no question that maintaining the water heater in your Glencoe, Illinois, home will extend its service life. Water heaters generally last about 12 years before replacement is required. However, scheduling regular water heater maintenance can increase its service life and overall efficiency.
How you care for your water heater impacts your energy bills. Proper maintenance reduces the amount of energy required for heating. Water heating can account for about 15 percent of a home’s energy consumption and comes in third only behind the cost of cooling and heating the house. Any improvement you can make in water heater efficiency will help to reduce your monthly household expenses.
What’s in Your Water?
The hardness of the water varies by locale. Mineral content in water — mostly calcium carbonate, solidifies when heated and then over time, accumulates as a layer of sediment in the bottom of the water heater. This layer insulates the water in the tank from the heating effect of the burner flame below in gas heaters, and from the heating element in electric heaters. Longer burn cycles will be needed to raise the temperature of the water, and this increases energy consumption. Extended burner cycles also cause overheating and often permanent damage.
Flush for Efficiency
If not addressed, tank sediment will eventually harden into a solid rock that can’t be removed. The primary DIY water heater maintenance procedure to fight sediment accumulation is to flush the tank twice a year. Of course, if you are not comfortable with this task, be sure to contact your contractor. In addition to annual tank draining, the following measures will also reduce water heating costs:
- Reduce use by taking shorter showers and installing water-conserving shower heads
- Wait until you have a full load before running the dishwasher and clothes washer.
- Set the water heater thermostat at 120 degrees.
- Insulate the hot water pipe where it extends from the heater and anywhere else in the house where it is accessible.
For more information about water heater maintenance and reducing energy consumption, check out Carefree Comfort, Inc.’s plumbing solutions, or give us a call at 847-388-0115.