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Is your water heater doing the best job it can this winter?  Did you know that your water heater actually needs to be maintained regularly to keep it working right?  Never fear!  You can maintain your water heater yourself, and it can be as fun as it is simple.

1.  Flush Your Water Heater

Ever get hard water deposits on dishes and water faucets?  Over time, those deposits can build up inside your water heater too, and wreak havoc on components inside the tank. You can combat this problem by flushing your water heater!

Flushing your water heater is one of the most important (and most neglected) ways you can increase the efficiency and extend the life of your water heater. Plumbing and water quality in Meridian can drastically vary from neighborhood to neighborhood… But these simple steps will keep a plumbing company away!

First, you will need a few tools.  Fetch yourself a garden hose, a flathead screwdriver, and a crescent wrench.

Now that you have your tools together, turn the heat setting knob on the water heater down so that it doesn’t try to turn on while you are working on it.

Close the cold water inlet valve. It’s located near the cold flex hose   close to your water heater.

Next, take your garden hose and attach it to your drain valve. The drain valve is located near the bottom of the tank and has an end for hooking up a garden hose.  Make sure that your hose is unraveled and set to drain into the gutter- not the yard (draining water from the hot water heater will burn your grass).

When you have the garden hose attached, use your flathead screwdriver to open the valve.

Once the drain valve is open all the way, use your crescent wrench to loosen the water inlet flex hose.  This allows the water to drain from the tank quicker.

Now that you have the tank draining, go inside the house and turn on a hot water faucet.  Leave it on.

Now, you may like to go outside and watch all the sediment come out of your water heater.  If there’s a lot, you can tighten the inlet hose again, turn on the cold water inlet for a while, and then repeat the draining process a couple of times, just to make sure that you get all of the sediment out.

When you are done draining the water from the tank, turn off the drain valve, then tighten the water inlet hose.

Finally, open the cold water inlet valve, and don’t forget to turn the heat setting knob back up!

Now you’re set!  You may want to leave your hot water faucet on inside until you’re sure that all the air is out of the system.
For more a detailed guide on flushing your water heater go HERE.

2. Give your water heater another layer of insulation

This is a really easy and inexpensive way to increase your water heater’s efficiency and save money.  You can find water heater jackets at pretty much any home improvement store, and they are very simple to install.

3. Inspect for leaks!

It’s always a good idea to go out into the garage every once in awhile and check that water heater for leaks.  Nobody wants to find a surprise flood waiting for them in the morning!

First, check those inlet and outlet hoses we talked about earlier.  If they have been leaking for a while, you will find some hard water residue around the location of the leak.  Sometimes, if it is leaking near those inlet and outlet hoses, the fix can be as simple as tightening the hose, or replacing the O-ring inside the fitting.

If those in and out hoses are fine, check the sides of the water heater for evidence of rust or leakage.  Check the base.  If there is water leaking out of the bottom of the tank, that means that there is a serious problem with the water heater and it needs to be drained immediately before it floods the house.  If the tank is no longer under warranty, the water heater will need to be replaced.

If the hoses, sides and bottom of the tank are fine, use your nose!  Do you smell natural gas odor around the water heater?  If there is an excessive odor of gas around the water heater, there may be a gas leak somewhere, and it would be wise to have the gas fittings and valve checked for natural gas leaks.

Use these simple steps from the Meridian plumbing experts!

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