If you have a gas hot water heater, you enjoy faster heating times than homeowners with electric units. However, that performance comes with a trade-off. There are important maintenance steps that you need to complete in order to keep your hot water heater in good working condition. What should you know about maintaining your gas hot water system?
Check the Pressure Relief Valve
One of the first things you need to do is to check the pressure relief valve on your water heater. This should be located near the top of the unit, and is designed to vent excess pressure in the event that your unit overheats or an overpressure condition develops. Turn off the gas to the pilot light, shut off the cold water inlet, place a bucket under the valve, and pull the lever on the front of the valve. Water vapor and air should hiss out. If not, then the valve may be faulty.
Flushing Your Tank
Your gas hot water system builds up sediment at the bottom of the tank from the water it uses. This happens with all water heaters, and it can lead to problems like hot spots with gas systems (it can destroy heating elements in electric water heaters). To combat sediment, you’ll need to flush the tank. This should be done once per year or so. Turn off the water and shut off the pilot light. Connect a hose to the drain valve, and run the hose outside. Open the drain valve and allow the water to run out completely. Once you’re done, simply close the valve, turn the water back on, and relight the pilot light.
Checking for Leaks
Every so often, you should make sure there are no leaks visible with your gas hot water system. Use a flashlight, and inspect the tank’s surface, the connection with all pipes, the pressure relief valve, and more. If you notice moisture anywhere, it may be necessary to contact a plumber to identify the problem and fix the leak.
If you need help maintaining your gas hot water system, a local plumber can provide you with annual maintenance service.
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