Did you know that your water heater builds up sedimentary deposits over time? It's true, and it's potentially dangerous. People who fail to flush their water heaters run the risk of permanently damaging them. In extreme situations, they're prone to explode. That's why it's imperative to learn how to clean your system. Here's a guide on how to flush a water heater.

Why You Should Do It

You can tell when your appliance has built up sediment deposits. It'll grow louder due to the water sloshing around these chips. You'll hear a loud rattling sound that signifies your water heater needs flushing. The other warning sign is that your water takes longer to heat. The sediments soak up the hot water, reducing the core temperature of a device designed to dispense warmth. That also adds to the cost of your utility bill. Performing the flush also extends the life of your water heater.

Before You Begin

You must take care of a few items before performing the actual flushing of the water heater. You'll need to buy some parts first. A new drain valve is the key to removing the dangerous sediments. You should find them in home improvement stores. You'll attach the valve to garden hose to perform the task.

Also, you'll want to take care of two common sense tasks. You'll need to shut out the electricity to your water heater to avoid electrocution. You'll also turn off the incoming water supply while your water heater is inactive. Otherwise, you'll have a mess and potential water damage to your floor. Finally, let your water heater rest long enough for it to cool. This is not a task to attempt while the heater is hot to the touch.

Flushing the Water Heater

The first step is to attach your water hose to the new drain valve. Then, you should turn on all the faucets and spigots in your home. The goal is to drain all the hot water out of the unit before performing the flush.

Now that the tank is empty, the goal is to get rid of all the sediment build-up in your appliance. You want to turn the water valve to begin the flushing process. Be gentle with it since the valve is easy to break. The water heater must drain completely before you can go ahead. Note that the flush could take some time. That's because the build-up slows the draining.

As the flush is completed, you should use a bucket to capture the last of the water. See if it still contains some sediment. If so, you'll want to repeat the process. The other way to test this is to add water back into your unit. Then, drain some of it into the bucket. If it's clear, you're done. If it's not, you still have an unclean water heater. In that case, flush it again.

Regular flushing helps maintain your water heater and makes an important difference in your utility bills and the safety of your home. Follow the steps above to remove the sediment that's causing problems with the proper operation of your water heater.

What do you do when you spot a puddle on the floor near your water heater? After determining it's not close enough to a window for rainwater to seep in and it's not dripping from an overhead pipe, there's one other option to consider – the water heater.

A leaking water heater is not something you can pretend you didn't notice and hope it goes away. Leaks tend not to fix themselves no matter what we're talking about. Just as a leaking swimming pool can harm your backyard, a water heater can cause all sorts of damage when left alone. Toxic mold and mildew would flourish as building materials making up the surrounding walls, floors, and subfloors deteriorate and rot.

Confirm It's Not Condensation

Gas-powered water heaters are known to produce condensation toward the top of the unit, especially when they are new. Look for water stains and signs of rust along the sides of the tank. A rusted tank needs to be replaced.

Condensation can form on the cold water pipes above the heater in humid weather, eventually creating puddles on the floor. Dry the floor and lay paper towel around the area in question, including the base of the tank. After a few hours have passed, you will see evidence collected on the paper towels telling you if condensation is the cause. By the same token, the wet paper towels will show you which side a heater leak is coming from.

Use Your Hands

Dry your hands thoroughly and feel around any connection points and valves along the water pipes above the heater. Sometimes a gate valve will leak from just beneath the handle. Tighten the packing nut below the handle to create a tighter seal. Check the fittings where the water inlet and outlet pipes enter the tank; sometimes water can seep out of these connections if not well sealed.

Next, feel around the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve located near the top of the tank, which should connect to a pipe leading to a drain. If you find a leak here, the T&P valve may need replacing.

Inspect the Electric Heating Element

First, shut off the circuit breaker for the water heater. Coming into contact with electricity and standing water is lethal.

Remove the access panels and plastic safety shield and look for visible water stains. If you don't seen anything, feel around the insulation for moisture. If you find wetness around the element, you can try tightening it or you may need to replace the rubber gasket that seals the element.

Check the Drain Valve

The drain valve is found on the side, near the bottom of the tank. Feel the inside of the spigot for moisture. If it's wet, the valve may be faulty and need replacement. For a temporary fix, you can screw on a garden hose cap or sprayer nozzle to seal the leak.

Leaks start small and they aren't always easy to find. However, you want to find the source early before a leak becomes an expensive problem. Once you have located the leak, contact your service professional to make the repair, knowing you've completed half the work.

Replacing your water heater is an aggravating process. It's costly as well as disruptive to your home life. You want to avoid replacement if possible, but sometimes it's absolutely necessary. Otherwise, you run the risk of unknowingly drinking contaminated water. Here are five signs that your water heater needs replacing.

Rusty Water

When your water looks rusty, it's more than just disgusting in appearance. It's also unsafe. You should stop drinking it immediately. Also, have a professional look at the unit. They'll determine whether your water heater suffers from internal or external rust. If it's internal, you may need to replace the entire unit, depending on the maintenance person's recommendation.

Planned Obsolescence

Every appliance in your home will break down over time. Each one has an established life cycle, and your water heater is no different. You'll want to know the manufacturing date of your device as well as the average lifespan of the unit.

This information isn't easy to discover. Your device won't have an exact date but rather a code that includes numbers and letters. Check your manufacturer to learn the specific way they date their products. Then, decipher the age of your unit. If your device is more than a decade old, it's already ready for replacing. If not, note when it'll turn 10 so that you can pay for its replacement.

Loud Is Never Good

Properly functioning devices run quietly. Otherwise, nobody would ever buy them. If you're near your water heater and notice that it's loud, that's a warning sign. The likely culprit is hardened sediment inside the unit. These by-products of a normally functioning water heater pile up over time. They also harden, thereby becoming firm clumps within the appliance. They bang around and create noise. You may be able to clean the unit to salvage operation for a while longer. The sediment does damage inside the unit, though. Its presence reduces the overall lifespan, forcing a replacement.

Water in the Wrong Place

Your water heater doesn't drip water when functioning properly. If you notice pools of it around the appliance, the device has a leakage problem. Smaller exterior leaks are fixable, especially by highly qualified repair professionals. When the fracture occurs inside the unit, however, it has become dangerous to operate, and you'll need to replace it. But before taking that step, tighten all the connecting pipes. This tactic will establish whether the leak is internal or external.

Repeated Safety Issues

Take note of the number of maintenance issues you perform on your unit. Pay particular attention to safety features such as the pressure valve. Also note if the heating element or pilot light requires replacement multiple times. All of these problems indicate overriding manufacturing issues with the device. If multiple parts of the unit fail more than once, you're throwing away money repairing a clunker. It's time to cut your losses and buy a new, safe water heater instead.

Deciding whether you need a new water heater isn't that difficult. Simply pay attention to the device, noting any of the issues above. If it seems broken, it probably is. You should call in a maintenance person to get a second opinion, though.

Summer a gorgeous season of traveling, outdoor adventures, and fun with family and friends. If you're planning on leaving home for a long weekend or an extended vacation, it's a good idea to do some water heater maintenance before you go.

By ensuring your water heater is functioning properly, you'll have peace of mind while you're enjoying your lovely summer getaway. Here are a few tips for making sure your water heater is running efficiently and safely while you're away.

Lower the Thermostat

If you won't be home for several days and you won't be having a house sitter staying at your residence, it's a good idea to lower the thermostat on your water heater. Some water heaters even have a Vacation Mode, which sets your water temperature at a simple maintenance mode. Your water heater will still run and continue to draw power, but it won't work nearly as hard and will save you energy while you're away.

Drain the Plumbing

If you plan to be gone for a week or more, consider draining your plumbing. By flushing your water heater system and your household plumbing, you'll ensure that there is no stagnant water left sitting around or under your house. Draining your plumbing will drain your water heater, toilets, and pipes.

You'll be protected from leaks and won't come home to a waterlogged floor. Draining your plumbing will also protect your water heater from building up too much pressure and exploding. When you return home, you'll need to refill your water heater system. Some plumbing professionals also recommend flushing the system once more after you arrive home, to get rid of any debris or sediment that may have accumulated while you were away.

Turn Off Your Water

To protect your water heater and your home from all possible unwanted scenarios, it's a good idea to turn off the water to your whole house. By doing this, you won't have to worry about your water heater overflowing or becoming overpressurized. You can either leave your water heater on or drain it completely. Turning off your whole home's water supply will also protect against leaks and other possible problems that could arise while you're away.

Schedule an Inspection

If you plan to be gone for a few weeks or longer, now may be time to schedule your annual inspection. Though most people opt to have their system inspected every two to three years, it's highly recommended that you get your water heater system inspected every year. Ideally, have your inspection completed a few days before you leave for vacation. If your system needs repairs, you'll have time to fix them before you leave so you know that everything is safe while you're away.

To get the most out of your summer vacation, make sure that nothing is distracting you from the good times. Take care of your home's water heater system and prevent any leaks or floods with these easy steps. Then you'll be all set to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weather and great company.

Would you like to save some money while reducing the carbon pollution in your home? The answer is obviously yes. That's why so many homeowners explore the possibility of adding insulation to their major appliances. One of the most important ones is your water heater, and here's a guide to insulating it to improve energy efficiency.

The Why of It

As water heaters age, they begin to lose integrity. They'll demonstrate their depreciation by losing effectiveness. You'll notice this each month when you receive your utility bill. By adding insulation, you'll earn back enough money in utility bill savings to counteract the cost of the materials used. The United States Department of Energy suggests that you can save as much as $45 annually by adding insulation. They also estimate that it's a 90-minute procedure. So, that little time can save you $450 over a decade (minus the cost of materials).

By adding insulation, you'll also reduce your carbon footprint. The only concern is that you must add insulation in a way that you don't block any of the important safety outputs on the water heat. You should consider hiring a professional for this task as a safety measure.

Pre-Install Tips

Assuming that you're a skilled DIY enthusiast, you can do this procedure yourself. The first thing you must do is find the manual for your water heater. Check it to make certain that it's okay to insulate your unit. Some manuals explicitly state not to do so. Also, verify that your water heater isn't leaking. If it is, you'll want a professional to do the job instead.

Step two is to clean your appliance, particularly the top of the unit. That's where most of the tape will go, and it won't stick on a dirty surface. You'll need to buy a water heater insulation kit for your unit as well. Your utility company may sell these items for less than a home improvement store. Alternately, they might offer a rebate for using such products to improve your energy efficiency.

How to Install Insulation

Measure the entirety of your water heater, adding three inches to the width to allow for the new materials. If your measurement is too short, you'll have to jam the insulation, reducing its effectiveness. Roll the blanket on a flat surface and mark the measurements you just took on the padding. Cut at the proper marks to create the appropriately sized insulation blanket for your water heater.

Determine the edge of your blanket that will stand vertically against the tank. Cut a flap in it away from the plastic cover. Now perform the actual wrap to verify that your measurements are correct. If it doesn't, make the appropriate adjustments. Presuming the blanket fits, use your hand to find where the controls are. Cut another flap in the padding there. Tape the padding to the heater and cut a cap for the top of the heater. Then, insulate the connecting pipe from your water heater. Tape both of them, and you're done!

As you can see, insulating your water heater isn't difficult. Simply follow this guide and you'll enjoy cheaper utility bills and a more energy-efficient home.

Like you, your water heater is relieved that summer is finally here! Your water worked very hard this winter making sure that you and your family had enough hot water for long showers, doing dishes, and preparing those amazing holiday meals.

Now that winter has passed, it's a good time to check your water heater to make sure it's functioning properly. Here are four tips for maintaining your water heater during the summer.

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance, so it's first on our list. Check to make sure that your water heater's safety relief valve and emergency shutoff valves are working properly. The emergency shutoff safety feature ensures your water heater doesn't overflow. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, the temperature pressure relief valve is the most important part of your water heater, as it keeps the pressure at a safe level and prevents explosions.

Temperature

As summer temperatures creep up, so does your utility bill. Whether your household uses fans, air conditioning units, or a central cooling system, chances are you'll be cranking these devices to stay comfortable in the summer heat.

To save money in the summer, the United States Department of Energy recommends that you turn your water heater's thermostat down. When it's hot outside, you won't want or need such hot water running through your house. Also, turning the thermostat down to 120 degrees can save your family a bundle. So adjust that thermostat and feel more comfortable indoors and with your monthly utility bill.

Cleaning and Replacement Parts

Your water heater runs by using a number of systems. First, if your water heater uses a pilot light, make sure it is working properly by extinguishing and relighting it. You'll also want to check the burner assembly unit to make sure that the heating system is working efficiently and not using unnecessary amounts of power.

Be sure to clean around your water heater. Any excess debris, dust, cobwebs, and clutter has the potential to catch fire if too much heat builds up, if there is a gas leak, or if there is a malfunction of the pilot light. Check your filters and replace them as needed. A clogged filter can lead to hazardous problems and an inefficient system.

Water Pressure and Quality

Draining your water heater once a year is a good way to make sure that your water quality and pressure stays at its highest. Flushing your water heater system allows you to check for sediment buildup and get rid of any deposits, if needed. This will make sure that sediment deposits don't restrict your water pressure or interfere with the system's ability to heat the water.

Schedule these annual maintenance tasks at the end of winter to ensure that the cold months and high demand for hot water haven't taken a toll on your system. By maintaining your water heater properly, you'll ensure that your family's water supply is safe and working efficiently as temperatures rise into summer.

Whether you are thinking about making an upgrade to a new hot water heater soon or you urgently need to replace a hot water heater that has completed died, you may actively be shopping for the best model for your needs. By doing so, you likely will come across the term point of use water heater, and you may wonder what this is and if it offers you any true benefits with regular use in your home.

What Is a Point of Use Water Heater?

This is a unique type of water heater that is often mistaken for a tankless heater. A tankless heater is one that generally serves the entire home, and it is located in a main entry point where water enters the home. A point of use system, on the other hand, often heats water for one specific location of the home. It may be located near a bathtub, a sink or another feature, and it is designed to heat only the water that is used by that particular feature. These are sometimes used in various areas of the home as the primary source of hot water, but they also can be used in conjunction with a larger heater that serves the entire home.

The Benefits of a Point of Use Water Heater

There are two main benefits associated with using this type of water heater. First, because it only heats water for a specific plumbing feature, the water is typically as hot as desired by the user. There is no concern about hot water being diverted to other areas or about a tank not having sufficient water to meet the needs of the user. In addition, heat can be lost as hot water travels through the pipes, so there is energy efficiency associated with heating water in a more direct location.

A point of use water heater can use gas or electric energy, and it can improve your access to hot water in a specific area of the home. This is not the right type of hot water heater for all homes, but it does serve an important and beneficial purpose for some homeowners. The heating capacity of these models can vary. Therefore, if you are interested in taking advantage of the benefits of this type of hot water heater, you may consider obtaining personalized guidance from a plumber. The plumber can also professionally install the feature in your home.