The costs of water heating ranges from 14 to 20 percent of the average household’s energy budget. That’s plenty of incentive to keep your water heater in good working order — especially during cooler weather. Use these tips to keep a tight lid on your hot water bill this winter, help your system run better and to enjoy uninterrupted hot water service.
Signs of Wear
Take a look at the storage tank. Do you see any rust spots or water stains? These are signs of leaky gaskets. Ask your service provider to inspect the unit.
Another sign that your water heater needs professional maintenance is fluctuating hot water temperatures. Common causes for this are a failing heating element, sediment buildup inside the tank, a broken dip tube or faulty thermostat.
If your water heater is heating up water greater than 120 degrees, you’re wasting energy. Use a thermometer to check hot water temperature at a faucet. Turn back the temperature dial a notch and wait a few hours before checking water temperature again.
Inefficient water heaters lose more heat energy through the sides, top and bottom of the tank. This is called standby heat loss, and makes your system work harder — use more energy — to keep stored water at a consistent temperature. Insulation jackets and sleeves for the storage tank help reduce standby heat loss, reduce wear, and save you money.
You should also insulate the pipes at the storage tank, under sinks and at your clothes washer. Insulating pipe sleeves increase water temperature, reduce waiting time and save you money, too.
Drain the Tank
If you don’t flush out your storage tank once a year, you are flushing money down the drain. Mineral and sediment buildup inside the tank reduce heating efficiency and shorten the lifespan of your water heater. Your service provider should flush the tank during preventive service. However, you should drain a gallon of water at the temperature pressure and relief valve every couple of months.
For professional water heater assistance, contact us at Roth Heating & Cooling. We’ve served Portland-area residents since 1976!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Metro Portland, Oregon area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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