Of all the household appliances requiring maintenance, your water heater is one you don’t want to neglect. Forgoing maintenance can not only be hazardous, but also costly, says Michael Petri, a Brooklyn-based plumbing and heating professional.
‘We see hundreds of poorly maintained water heaters that need to be fixed or replaced around this time of year,’ says Petri. ‘Water heaters account for nearly 17 percent of a household’s energy use, so it can get very costly if they aren’t maintained properly or get too old.’
To ensure the longevity of your water heater, Petri suggests the following tips:
1. Replace an Outdated Unit – Water heaters generally last between 8 and 10 years—after that, they may begin leaking, requiring frequent maintenance or repair work. If your model is outdated, consider replacing it with a new, energy-efficient alternative. Keep in mind that water heaters built after April 15, 2015 meet different energy standards than older models, and, as a result, are larger in size, so storage modifications may be needed.
2. Install Insulation – To ensure accurate water temperature and avoid damage from temperature fluctuations, insulate your water heater with a fiberglass wrap. These wraps, installed by a professional plumber, are safe and generally less expensive than other insulation options.
3. Inspect and Flush the Unit – Regularly inspect the water heater’s pilot light to ensure the system is heating properly. The light should always be blue—red or orange indicate a malfunction. In addition, have your water heater flushed at least once a year to remove built-up rust or sediment, which can inhibit the unit’s performance.
Source: Petri Plumbing and Heating, Inc.
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