Close this search box.

Your Winter Water Heater Maintenance Guide

Mainstream Plumber Connects Water Heater

Spokane winters can be harsh. And, the last thing you want is a cold shower to greet you after a long day in the snow. Thankfully, with proper preventative maintenance on your hot water heater, you can ensure a steady stream of hot water all season long. This guide will walk you through the essential steps for Spokane homeowners to keep their hot water heaters running smoothly and efficiently throughout the winter.

1. Clear the Area Around Your Appliance

Your water heater needs space to breathe. Clutter crowding the unit can restrict airflow, leading to overheating and potential safety hazards. For smooth operation and peace of mind, maintain a clear zone of at least two feet around your water heater on all sides.

2. Turn Off Water Supply and Power

Before starting any preventative maintenance on your hot water heater, prioritize safety. Locate the shut-off switch near your unit and turn off the power supply. Then, close the water supply valve. This ensures you’re not dealing with live electricity or unexpected water pressure while working.

3. Test the Temperature-Pressure Relief (TPR) Valve

This valve plays a crucial role in preventing accidents. It releases excess pressure if the water inside the tank gets too hot. Place a bucket under the discharge pipe and quickly open and close the valve two to three times. If it leaks continuously, call a qualified Spokane plumber for a replacement.

4. Inspect the Anode Rod

This component attracts minerals in the water, protecting the tank itself from corrosion. However, the anode rod wears down over time. Remove the rod and inspect it for signs of wear: heavy sediment buildup or a diameter less than half an inch. If it shows these signs, replace it with a new one from your local Spokane hardware store.

5. Flush the Tank to Remove Sediment Buildup

Sediment buildup in the water heater tank can reduce efficiency and shorten its lifespan. To prevent this, regularly flush the tank. Attach a hose to the drain valve and drain the tank into a bucket. If the water is cloudy, briefly open the cold water supply valve to refill the tank. Then, stir up the sediment and drain again. Repeat this process until the water runs clear.

Bonus Tips

Insulate for Spokane’s Frigid Winters

Spokane winters can get chilly, so insulating your water heater tank and pipes is a smart way to save energy and prevent frozen pipes. Look for sleeves specifically designed for water heater insulation at your local Spokane hardware store. These will be readily available to help you tackle this project. Before you insulate, however, be sure to consult your water heater manual. Modern models might already have built-in insulation, and adding extra layers could be unnecessary or even cause problems. Checking your manual first ensures your water heater operates efficiently and avoids any potential issues.

Consider Hard Water

Spokane’s water can be hard, meaning it contains high mineral content. This can accelerate sediment buildup in your water heater. Flushing the tank more frequently (every 6 months) might be necessary.

Schedule Professional Maintenance

While these steps are great for DIY maintenance, consider scheduling a professional inspection by a licensed plumber every 1-2 years for a more thorough check-up. At Mainstream, our experienced and licensed plumbers can handle everything from routine maintenance to water heater repair and replacement. 

By following these tips for preventative maintenance on your hot water heater, you can enjoy a warm and comfortable winter with a steady flow of hot water. Remember, consistent preventative maintenance can extend the lifespan of your hot water heater and save you money on repairs or replacements down the road.

Read more blogs...

Call or Schedule Your Service Online!