Water heaters are often overlooked in our daily lives, but a little preventative maintenance will go a long way toward prolonging its life and increasing efficiency. Checking your water heater can easily be incorporated into your general care or winter-proofing schedule.
After heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters are the second-largest contributor to household energy bills. Did you know that nearly 20% of your home’s energy bill comes from simply heating your water? For those living in cold climates, energy bills go way up in winter, and even those in milder temperatures typically see an increase in their energy consumption.
Tips for winter water heater efficiency include:
Flush Out Sediment
- Sediment builds up in your water tank over time, eventually settling at the bottom of the tank and solidifying, forming a deposit.
- Drain water heater sediment by fully draining your tank and flushing it with cold water yearly.
Insulate the Pipes and Tank
- Heat evaporates quickly, especially in your pipes and water tank, preventing your water heater from heating as efficiently.
- When you lose heat in your pipes, you must heat more water to compensate for the loss. Check with your utility company whether they offer rebates or low-cost installation.
Install Low Flow Fixtures
- Low-flow plumbing fixtures are another easy way to save money in the long run without too much time or effort up front. Low-flow fixtures do what their name suggests, reduce the water flow rate so that less of your hot water goes down the drain.
- Consider replacing items like shower heads, faucets, and even toilets with low-flow alternatives for the ultimate energy savings by reducing water consumption by up to 50 percent.
Set the Water Heater to 120 Degrees Fahrenheit
- The hotter your system heats your water, the longer it runs, and the higher the overall energy usage. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit for cost-savings and to avoid burns, especially for children.
- You can find out more about water heater temperature settings here.
Look for Plumbing Leaks
- The most common indicator of a plumbing leak is that your water heater is constantly running since it needs to replace lost hot water.
- You can reduce hot water attrition by taking shorter showers, fixing faucet and shower leaks, and replacing out-of-date wash machines and dishwashers with Energy Star models.
Routine maintenance on a water heater can be performed by a licensed professional or on a do-it-yourself basis and typically involves:
- Checking the temperature and pressure valve every 3-6 months.
- Flushing out the water tank and removing any built-up sediment approximately once per year.
- Inspecting and replacing the anode rod as needed.
Gene Wagner Plumbing is Wisconsin’s premier plumbing contractor. We offer water heater repair and full-service water heater installation customized to our residential and commercial customers.
No one wants to be without their hot water on a cold day, but if that happens, call Gene Wagner Plumbing. We are proud of being one of the best plumbers in Milwaukee. Check out our profile on Expertise. For more information, contact us or call us at 414-541-9217.