New Homeowner: Troubleshooting Your Water Heater

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If you are a new homeowner, you have a lot to learn about the different appliances in your home. Many people overlook their water heater until they are faced with cold water that won't turn warm! Learning how to maintain and troubleshoot your water heater is a great way to be an attentive homeowner. Here are three things you should do to maintain and troubleshoot your water heater:

Pilot Light

If your water is not heating in the home, check the pilot light on your water heater. The pilot light is what ignites the gas to turn on the water heater. When the light is out, the gas can't power the unit. Read the owner's manual to learn where the light is located and the steps you should take to light it. If you smell gas or your water heater isn't in a well-vented area, you need to call for help to make sure there isn't too much carbon monoxide in the air. After lighting a pilot light, it can take a few hours to heat up the water in the tank again. If your pilot light goes out repeatedly or won't light, you need to call in a plumber for repairs.

Adjust the Temperature

Learning how to adjust the temperature on your water heater can make you more comfortable and help save you money. If you travel a lot, turning your water heater down or off is a great way to save money while you're gone. Water temperatures need to be at safe levels in your home so no one is scalded in the shower or while washing their hands. A safe maximum for the temperature of the water is 120-140 degrees. Hot water is great for warm showers and even crucial for washing dishes and hands, to kill bacteria. You should consider the age of the people in your home when choosing the temperature. Children or the elderly could accidentally burn themselves at a higher temperature, so 120 degrees is safer for them. 

Flush The Tank

Learning how to flush the water tank is an important step in caring for your water heater. Water tanks have mineral buildup occur over time. If you live in an area with hard water or do not use a water softener, you should do this more often. Mineral buildup can cause your water heater to run less efficiently and make the unit work harder to compensate. Keeping the water flushed every few months can help you prolong the life of your water heater and save you some money on your energy bill. Identify where your valves, are and make sure your unit and values are shut off. You need to let the water cool before you do anything else. Read your owner's manual for your tank to identify where you plug in a hose to drain the tank. Do an internet search to find videos online for your specific unit so you learn how to do it correctly. Consider calling a plumber to do a tank flush for you.

Learn how to care for your water heater and it will last much longer in your home. Call a plumber to help you with any major issues and have a professional teach you some tips and tricks for the unit in your home.

For more information about water heater system repair, contact a local plumbing service.