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How To Prep Your Water Heater For Winter

Posted: January 4, 2021

water heater maintenance massachusettsThroughout the winter, your comfort depends quite a bit on how well the water heater in your Central Massachusetts home can do its job. We’ve identified a list of steps you can take to ensure that you are maximizing your water heater’s potential—and energy efficiency—all season long.

  1. Do a temperature check. Water that’s 120°F is hot enough for any needs you may have, however, most water heaters are preset to 140°F. That 20-degree difference can be dangerous. Water that’s too hot can cause scalding with the elderly as well as with infants and toddlers. Lowering the water to 120°F is the safer way to go, and it’s a great way to cut back on your water heating costs—up to 10%!
  2. Get your tune-up on the calendar, if it hasn’t already happened. It’s important to schedule a maintenance tune-up for your water heater every two years. Pioneer’s technicians can give it a thorough check so they can address any problems right away. During the tune-up, they can identify whether it might be time to upgrade your water heater as well. Note: While every other year is fine for water heater tune-ups, furnaces and boilers should get a tune-up once a year.
  3. Check the anode rod. You may have heard it called the “sacrificial rod,” and there’s good reason for that. The anode rod attracts the corrosion process so it happens to the rod itself rather than to your tank.

    Anode rods should last about five years, but expect them to require replacing sooner if you have soft water. Keep an eye on your anode rod and when it’s time to replace yours, and be sure to do it quickly to avoid corrosion in the tank, which could cause a failure. Take a look at the manual for your tank to learn how to check and change the anode rod.

  4. Flush the tank. Sediment collecting at the bottom of your water heater can lead to a failure, as it leads to corrosion and makes it difficult for the system to heat your water up. You want to avoid this as it will lead to increased energy costs. Give these steps a try to flush your tank:
    1. Attach a hose to your drain valve, which is near the bottom of the tank. The other end of the hose should go into a floor drain. Putting it outside is also fine—as long as it’s in a place where the water will drain.
    2. Shut off your tank’s water supply.
    3. Shut down the water heater power. Or, if you have a propane water heater, set the thermostat to “pilot.”
    4. Open up your drain valve.
    5. When your tank is empty, briefly turn on the water supply. When you do this, you will stir up the sediment from the bottom of the tank, allowing it to drain.
    6. Follow steps 1 to 5 until the water runs clear, before closing the drain valve. Switch the water heater back to its original settings.
  5. Make sure your tank is properly insulated. You can reduce heat loss with the help of an insulating blanket on your water tank and pipes. Having an insulating blanket will enable your water heater to run less frequently without compromising your water’s temperature. You can get the specifics for purchasing the correct insulating blanket from your water heater manufacturer.

Contact us with your questions about the best ways to care for your heating system through the winter! Whether you need help with your water heater, or you’re thinking about replacing or repairing your furnace or boiler, we are just an email or phonecall away!