Written on: January 18, 2021
This time of year, your home’s water heater is working harder than usual. There are three reasons for that.
Standing heat loss. If you’re like most other homeowners, you likely own a conventional water heater with a storage tank. As the heated water in your water heater tank sits there waiting to be used, it loses heat, which is standing heat loss. Your water heater will have to cycle on more frequently to make sure your water is hot when you need it.
The water is colder. In winter, the fresh water coming into your home from either a well or the public water supply is colder. That forces your water heater to work harder to get that colder water up to your desired temperature.
You’re using more hot water. Lingering in a hot shower on a cold day is common, meaning you’re using more hot water. You’re likely using more hot water for laundry, dishwashing, and bathing if you have kids or college students home on winter break. That’s all more work for your water heater.
Your home’s water heater should get a professional maintenance tune-up every two years. But you can help keep your water heater running efficiently and help extend its life expectancy with some DIY water heater maintenance.
Corrosion is a leading cause of water heater tank failure. Sediment at the bottom of your water heater tank can cause corrosion. That sediment also makes it harder for the system to heat the water, reducing its efficiency and increasing your water heating energy costs.
Here’s how to do it.
The anode rod, commonly called the “sacrificial rod,” draws to itself the minerals that cause corrosion. That protects the tank lining, and your tank from corrosion.
Anode rods last about five years. A depleted anode rod can accelerate corrosion of your water heater tank, leading to tank failure. Since a new anode rod is much cheaper than a new water heater, it’s well worth taking a few minutes a couple of times a year to check your anode rod and replace it when needed.
An insulating blanket on your water heater tank and around pipes helps reduce standing heat loss. The water heater won’t have to run as often or as long to keep your water hot, reducing wear and helping to lower your water heating energy costs.