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Your water heater is a vital system in your home and an important part of your family’s comfort, so proper maintenance is crucial. A failing water heater not only means a lack of hot water, but could result in energy loss and even serious damage to your home. Those problems are easy enough to prevent if you just avoid these common mistakes. Doing so will also save money.
A water heater that is too big for your home and your needs wastes water and energy. A water heater that’s too small won’t be able to generate enough hot water for your household. When choosing the size, consider your family’s lifestyle, the number of people in the home, and how you use water.
Water heater installation is not meant to be a DIY project. While it may seem simple enough, someone untrained is likely to make serious, costly, and potentially dangerous mistakes, including not adhering to building codes. A new water heater is a substantial investment and the money you think you’ll save on installation can easily be spent many times over to correct those mistakes. A big part of the water heater’s performance is tied to proper installation and that is best done by a professional.
Setting the temperature higher than necessary increases the risk of scalding and wastes energy. It can also increase the pressure inside the tank to a dangerous level, which makes leaks more likely to occur. Water heater leaks are quite costly to repair and often the better course is to replace the unit instead. Be sure your water heater is set at or below the maximum recommended temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Loud popping, hissing or banging sounds coming from the water heater should be thoroughly investigated by a professional. They are typically caused by sediment buildup inside the tank, the result of settling minerals in the water supply that have coated the sides and bottom of the tank. Water can get trapped between the buildup and the burners or heating elements. Steam bubbles erupt from below the sediment and make those loud pops. The buildup also causes the water heater to work harder to heat the water, using more energy which translates to higher energy bills.
Along with your HVAC system, your hot water heater should be scheduled for professional maintenance annually. A thorough inspection will ensure that all the components are working properly and that any sediment buildup is addressed before it becomes a problem. Annual maintenance is the best way to protect your investment, to keep energy costs low and to ensure that you have plenty of hot water when you need it.