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Some Like It Hot: Take Care of Your Water Heater

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Jessica
03.24.13

It’s hot. It’s steamy. And it’s exactly what you need… to get squeaky clean. We’re talking about showers, people! There’s nothing worse than being sprayed with ice-cold water mid-shower, so we strongly suggest you give your water heater some love. Yes, they can be a little needy – up to 25 percent of the energy used in your home is for heating your water – but we think it’s worth it! Follow these steps, and you’ll have a very satisfied hot water heater:

1. Locate Your Water Heater 

There isn't a set "spot" for a water heater to be installed, but they are usually located on an exterior wall, near your gas and water supply lines. If you don't see it there, check any utility closets in your home, your basement and the garage, if you have them. If you can't find your water heater (and you have a tankless heater), you should try and listen for it to turn on and off. (If does so when someone uses hot water.)

2. Start With a Visual Inspection 

How does your water heater look? Check the tank and floor for signs of leaks, the area around/underneath the relief valve and the piping going to and from the water heater.

3. Flush Your Hot Water Heater

You should do this once a year, and at the very least, flush it every few years. Flushing the tank removes built-up gunk and keeps it running efficiently. For details, read this simple how-to article on flushing your water heater.

4. Inspect Your Water Heater Vent

If your water heater has a top vent, you need to ensure that it’s working properly. Otherwise, it can vent noxious gases into your home. Light a match and hold it next to the gap between the top of the water heater and the vent. When the water heater turns on, watch to see if the flame on the match is drawn toward the gap. If it is, you’re in good shape. If not, we recommend you call a qualified professional to check out your system. Note: If you have an electric or high-efficiency water heater, this isn’t necessary.

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