If you love long, luxurious bubble baths in the evening, or a nice hot shower before you head to work in the morning, you might be frustrated when you notice that you aren't getting as much hot water out of your water heater. Unfortunately, a low hot water supply could be a sign that your system is on its last leg, and you might be faced with a system replacement in the near future. However, by making the following moves, you might be able to make your new water heater last a lot longer.
1: Consider Installing a Water Softener
Did you ever notice mysterious clanking noises emanating from your old water heater? Although scary sounds are the perfect compliment to your late night story-telling sessions, the fact of the matter is that they could mean trouble for your water heater. If you are one of the 85% of Americans that have hard water, lime scale deposits could be building up inside of your tank, clanking around, and limiting the efficiency of your system.
As hard water deposits accumulate, they take up valuable space where water could be heated. This is one of the reasons that your older system might have "run out" of hot water a little sooner than it should have. However, you might be able to prevent this problem in the future by installing a water softener.
Water softeners work by running your water through a tank filled with resin beads that are coated with electrically charged sodium ions. The calcium and magnesium in the water is attracted to these ions, and falls out of the water before it is dispersed through your house. After water has been softened, it won't leave behind hard water deposits inside your water heater, so that your system will stay fully functional and quiet for many years to come.
2: Flush Your Tank
Unfortunately, lime scale isn't the only debris that your water can leave behind. Microscopic dirt and pipe particles can end up in your water supply, sink to the bottom of your water heater, and accumulate. After awhile, this sediment can actually become quite heavy, and potentially cause the bottom of your tank to fail.
To remedy this problem, experts recommend draining and flushing your tank three or four times a year to remove particulates. Here is a brief step-by-step guide for cleaning out your water heater tank.
Step 1: Turn off the gas or electricity that powers your tank.
Step 2: Shut off the cold water valve that provides water to the heater.
Step 3: Find the tank's drain valve, and attach a garden hose to the area. Stretch the hose outside, and put the end somewhere that wouldn't be damaged by super-heated water.
Step 4: Open the pressure relief valve, and then open the drain valve on your water heater. Hot water will start to pour out of your system, along with sediment from your tank. Carefully monitor the area near the end of your garden hose, as scalding water could pose a danger to other people and pets.
Step 5: Let your tank drain until water stops flowing from the hose, so that as much grime as possible leaves your system.
Step 6: When you are confident that your tank has completely drained, close the relief valve and the drain valve, and then open the cold water valve so that your system can start heating water again.
Flushing your system might seem like an extra chore, but by keeping your sediment levels low, you might be able to make your water heater last.
Understanding how to maintain your system and prevent water heater problems might help you to avoid a surprise cold shower and unexpected repair bills. For more information, contact a local water heater repair company.