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Maintenance & Energy Saving Tips for Your Traditional Tank Water Heater

Traditional tank water heaters can be quite costly to operate if they aren’t running efficiently. 

Traditional tank water heaters can be quite costly to operate if they aren’t running efficiently. 

On average, 25% of a home’s energy bill is spent on heating water so it’s easy to see why it’s important your tank water heater be operating at it’s best. But how can you do this? By following some of the simple actions below, you can easily improve the efficiency, and extend the life, of your tank water heater. 

Tips for Keeping Your Water Heater Running Efficiently

Add Insulation

Use foam pipe insulation to insulate the cold and hot water supply pipes attached to your water heater and use pre-cut jackets or blankets designed for this purpose with a value of at least R-8. Additional insulation around the pipes and unit can help prevent condensation and heat loss which can equal wasted energy. 

Test the TPR Valve

The TPR valve, or temperature pressure release valve, is critical to the safety and proper operation of your water heater. It is responsible for releasing water if the temperature or pressure builds too high inside the tank. To test the valve, lift the lever part way then allow the lever to close again. You should hear a gurgling sound as water is released into the drain tube. If you do not hear this, your valve could be bad and you should contact a certified plumber to have it replaced.

Adjust the Temperature Settings

Most tank water heater temperature settings should be set no higher than 120 degrees. This temperature is typically plenty warm and any setting higher than this creates an increased risk of scalding. You can see 3-5% in energy savings for every 10 degrees you lower the temperature below 120. For additional energy savings, consider reducing the temperature to the lowest setting when you know you’ll be away from home for an extended period of time.

Remove Sediment Buildup

It is recommended that your water heater be flushed annually to remove any sediment buildup. Dirt, sediment and mineral deposits can collect and corrode your water heater, shortening the life of the unit and making it run less efficiently. While many resources on the Internet give you step-by-step instructions for flushing your water heater on your own, it’s advised to hire a professional to do this for you. Doing so ensures the process is done safely and effectively.
 
While regular maintenance and various techniques can help you save money and extend the life of your unit, eventually every unit will need to be replaced. Traditional tank water heaters typically last between 13-15 years. If you know your water heater is reaching the end of it’s life, you might consider looking into a new unit now. 
 
If you have questions about maintaining your water heater, or require service on your unit, contact your water heater experts at Plumbing Today!