The water heater is often the third largest energy expense in your home. You can significantly extend the life of your water heater and help keep your energy cost down with regular maintenance on your water heater.
The Home Depot's Joe Autry shows how to complete some of the most common water heater maintenance tasks. But they say always refer to your water heater's owners manual for additional information and safety precautions that are particular to your model.
Flush the Heater
The build up of sediment in the tank can reduce your water heater's energy efficiency and also clog your water lines. Avoid these problems and increase the life of your unit by flushing your water heater every six months.
1. Connect a standard garden hose to the water heater drain outlet near the base of the water heater. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain or in a large bucket.
2. Flush sediment from the bottom of the heater by opening the drain spigot and allowing the water to run until it runs clear.
Turn off the Electricity and Remove the Access Panel
1. Shut off power to an electric water heater by flipping the breaker at the service panel.
2. Pull back any insulation to expose the thermostat.
3. Use a screwdriver to change the thermostat temperature in 10-degree increments.
4. Close the panel, turn the power on and check the water temperature after one hour. Adjust again if necessary.
5. If you have a gas water heater, the temperature can easily be adjusted with the thermostat located on of the tank.
Relighting a Gas Water Heater
Step One: Remove the Cover Panel
1. Lift off the access panel at the bottom of the tank.
2. Remove the heat shield and check to see if there is a flame.
3. If not, shut off the gas supply valve.
4. Disperse any excess gas by gently blowing into the opening before you attempt to relight the pilot.
Step Two: Relight the Pilot
1. Turn the knob on top of the control box to the "pilot" position.
2. Hold a lit fireplace match or barbeque lighter to the pilot access opening.
3. Press and hold down the reset button on the control box for 60 seconds after the pilot ignites, then turn the control knob to the "on" position.
4. Replace the access panel.
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