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Does My Water Heater Need Maintenance?

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Home Comfort, Hot Water Heaters, Maintenance

Have you ever gone to take a bath or shower and felt cold and uncomfortable when the water touched your skin? Hopefully, this isn’t the case, but w...

Posted by Ryan | March 16, 2022

Have you ever gone to take a bath or shower and felt cold and uncomfortable when the water touched your skin? Hopefully, this isn’t the case, but when your water heater isn’t working properly, it could be a result of poor maintenance.

Like most of the components that operate your home, your water heater needs maintenance and care from time to time. Regular check-ups can also help you avoid a costly repair bill down the road and plumbing emergencies.

With different types of water heaters, different maintenance is required. Read more below to find out the types of water heaters that are common and how maintenance can help keep your water heater system running smoothly and efficiently.

If you know it’s been a while since a professional took a look at your water heater components and plumbing, it’s time to call Action Furnace. Our plumbers will make sure your system is running hot ready for another year.

Feet in a bubble bath

What Are the Different Types of Water Heaters?

Two main types of water heaters are used in homes in Western Canada. Although there are other types, hot water tanks and tankless water heaters are the ones installed most often.

Conventional Water Heater

By far the most common type in Alberta, conventional water heaters are the big tanks that you often see in utility rooms or basements. They store a specific capacity of hot water at a time so that it can be used when you need it most throughout the day.

The size of the water heater varies based on the needs of each home. But in general, the larger the tank, the more hot water you’ll have available. The heating element within the tank ensures that you have hot water at the ready, whether you need it or not, which is why there is also a demand for newer tankless designs.

Tankless Water Heater

Instead of storing hot water in a tank, tankless water heaters heat up your water on-demand as it passes through the unit itself. This way there is minimal energy loss from standby heating, creating a slightly more efficient system.

Another benefit to tankless water heaters is that they mount right to the wall instead of taking up floor space. They are typically about 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide in size. As you turn on your tap, the water that passes through is instantly heated for use and doesn’t need to be stored elsewhere.

Corroded copper pipes in an old water heater - Water heater maintenance

How Often Does Your Water Heater Need Maintenance?

Even if you haven’t had problems with your water heater, you can improve its efficiency, performance, and extend its life by completing a few small maintenance checks.

Yearly inspections and flushes are recommended, which can be partially done on your own, but calling a professional will get you the best results. Water heaters combine electricity, water, and sometimes gas, which can be hazardous appliances without the appropriate tools and expertise.

During your annual water heater inspection from Action Furnace, there are a few things your technician will be monitoring and testing. All of these procedures help your water heater run more efficiently and give your plumber a chance to identify potential problems.

Here are some water heater maintenance tips you can do yourself in-between visits from a professional.

Test the Pressure Relief Valve

Pressure relief valves should be located on most hot water tanks. They are a crucial safety feature that drains the water in the event of dangerous pressure levels.

Testing these valves is simple: when the tab on the valve is lifted, water should flow. When the tab is down, the flow should stop.

Flush the Water Heater to Remove any Sediment

Throughout the year, sediment can build up within your water heater, and cause potential damage. With this build up, water lines can clog and the amount of water available within your tank can decrease. 

The best way to prevent this is to do an annual flush to purge the tank of any unwanted debris. Hiring a professional is a great way to have an all-in-one flush and inspection, this is also a great time to inspect the anode rod.

Inspect the Anode Rod

The anode rod is made of a steel core wire, with a coating of zinc, aluminum, or a similar material. Its purpose is to protect the inner lining of your hot water tank. Using electrolysis, the anode rod attracts ions that would otherwise rust the metal tank.

You’re looking for a rod that is showing degradation. This indicates it’s preventing wear on the tank. Without the proper tools and know-how, this can be a dangerous DIY task, so it’s best to contact a professional and have it inspected during the water heater flushing process.

How is Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Different?

Tankless water heater systems are much smaller and don’t require a storage tank. But there are still several things that can be done for annual maintenance. Tune-ups on tankless water heaters are also available all year round from the hot water experts at Action Furnace.

Descaling a Tankless System

Although tankless water heating systems don’t store large amounts of water, they can still develop sediment and buildup that needs to be cleaned out. Sediment tends to collect around the pipes, valves, and inlets of your system.

Following the shut-off of gas or electricity to your unit, a flush kit can be used to fully clean and descale with the appropriate solutions. This helps ensure optimal efficiency of your tankless water heater. Extra care should be taken when doing this to avoid contaminating your drinking water or causing excess mineral buildup. Hiring a professional is always recommended.

Check the Temperature Setting

Reviewing the temperature setting on your tankless water heating system can help prevent high utility bills, as well as excess mineral buildup within the system. Running water that is too hot can be uncomfortable and even burn you. The professionals at Action Furnace can help you determine the best temperature setting for your home’s needs.

The Benefits of Water Heater Maintenance

Like many of the components that run our homes, water heaters add to the comfort and convenience that we’ve come to expect. When everything is running properly and efficiently, you can enjoy that nice, warm bath or shower.

However, this does require regular maintenance to avoid costly repairs and keep your water running as it needs to. Below are some of the benefits of regular water heater maintenance.

Lower Your Utility Bills

When a water heating system is running optimally, it means that it doesn’t have to struggle to meet the needs of your home. And the higher the overall efficiency of the system, the lower your home’s energy consumption will be to operate it. This means lower utility bills.

Cheaper & Less Frequent Repairs

No one likes having to do repairs on home comfort systems, But if maintenance is kept up to date, future water heater repairs will be less costly and detrimental. Regular maintenance also helps stay ahead of repairs by noticing trouble spots before they become catastrophic.

Older water heaters will especially experience fewer repairs if annual maintenance is part of your homeowner’s routine.

Your Hot Water Heater Will Last Longer

More maintenance equals less damage. With regular inspections and servicing of your water heating system, you can ensure that it continues to function better for longer and with less headache.

Maintaining your water heater and getting a set of professional eyes on your tank can be the difference in your system lasting a few years or more than a dozen.

Membership Maintenance Program

There’s already a lot to remember when it comes to caring for your home. And sometimes it’s hard to stay on top of it all! But if you want your water heater to last its very longest and you want to limit repairs, one thing is for sure: your water heater needs maintenance.

Water heater maintenance is one of those important things that you may need a reminder about. But better than a reminder, what if you had a professional contact you when it was time to take care of one of your home’s most important components?

This is what the Action Furnace Comfort Club Membership is all about. We know when all of the important maintenance is supposed to occur, and we’ll contact you to schedule the best time that works for your busy schedule. That way, you can focus your energy on living your best life and know that cold showers are not something that’s going to hit you by surprise.

Give us a call today to become a member and enjoy worry-free water heater maintenance.

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Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.

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