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Maintaining Your Water Heater in Winter

Posted on: May 22, 2019

Hot water gets taken for granted so much that many folks forget about annual maintenance for their water heater. Just like a furnace or air conditioner, your water heater should be inspected and repaired at least annually. Winter maintenance works well for water heaters because that’s when you’ll rely on a hot shower the most!

Winter Maintenance Tips for Water Heaters

Glenbrook Heating & Air Conditioning services and installs water heaters in Chicago’s North Shore area, so we know what it takes to maintain hot water in a cold environment.

We recommend taking the following steps for water heater maintenance every winter:

  • Insulation. Did you have cold showers last winter? Add insulation to the storage tank or pipe insulation to the water lines of a tankless water heater. This is especially important for water heaters in uninsulated basements or mechanical rooms.
  • Flushing. You should drain and flush a hot water tank every six months or so. Homes with hard water may want to do so more often. Run a hose from the drain valve to the outdoors or a floor drain and fill the tank with cold water.
  • Adjust the temperature. You may have set your water heater lower to save money on energy, but feel free to turn it up higher in the winter. Especially if you can’t insulate the pipes any better.
  • Check the relief valve. Open the temperature pressure relief valve and some water should come out. If not, get it replaced to prevent disaster later!
  • Check the anode rod. This is a “sacrificial” element that helps prevent mineral scale and hard water damage. It can last up to a few years depending on the hardness of your water. It should be replaced after a few years for a new water heater, and then inspected annually thereafter.

DIY Water Heater Maintenance?

Strictly speaking, water heaters should only be worked on by professionals. Gas water heaters carry a risk of deadly catastrophe if a problem goes unnoticed. Even electric water heaters have their dangers. Water heater repairs that involve internal components are probably not accessible to you and require intimate knowledge of the equipment.

Most homeowners are fully comfortable with draining and flushing a water heater. You can also buy insulating wraps for the tank and pipes at hardware stores and stick them on yourself.

Beyond those measures, leave the winter maintenance and any water heater repairs to your local heating technicians!

Water Heater Maintenance in the Chicago Area

Do you need a water heater tune-up this winter? Look to the experts at Glenbrook Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at 847-729-0114 or contact us online for water heater maintenance, repair, or replacement in Glenview, IL or throughout Chicago’s North Shore area.

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