That Needs Service Too??! – Why we service your water heater

Would you like to know the secret of how to keep your water heater going without interruption?  Maintenance!  I know it’s not a new pair of shoes, but it’s just as necessary! As it often is with our appliances we barely think about them until they stop working. It’s time to think about them just a little. 

February is hot water heater month at R&B, and this month’s blog is about maintenance.   Understand what magic happens when your favorite R&B plumber services your water heater, and why it will help.  

How does regular water heater service you extend the life of your hot water tank?

Today’s hot water tanks typically come with a six-year warranty.  Interestingly, for an extra charge you can increase the warranty by two years.  Often, the only mechanical difference between the tanks’ warranties  is the robustness of the tank anode.  The tank anode is a metal  insert that, through a process of electrolysis will slowly disintegrate instead of the metal of the inner workings of the tank.  The life of the anode, is directly related to the life of the tank because once that anode is gone, the corrosion eats away at the tank, rusting it from the inside out.  

A hot water tank service will first and foremost check and if necessary, replace that anode.  

The second piece of a water tank service is the tank flush.  This process will remove any sediment that may have settled in the bottom of your tank.  As great as the water is here on the West Coast, there is still sediment.  This can and will act like a blanket over the heating portions of the tank and make it less effective and efficient over time as it takes more fuel to achieve the same heat rise. When every part has to work harder and burn longer, it will increase wear to components of the tank significantly. 

Taking care of these two small items along with testing the safety features of your tank, will ensure that your tank is running as efficiently as possible and for as long as possible.  

How does a regular water heater service extend the life of your on-demand / tankless water heater?

While a tankless or as they are less commonly known, on-demand water heater has no issue with sediment, scale can build up on the pipes where the water is heated.  This will be checked at your service and cleaning may be recommended every 2-3 years.  This will improve the efficiency of your water heater.

In fact, cleaning is much of what the tankless service will be about. Cleaning inlet water screens and filters will ensure that the water volume is appropriate to the gallons per minute that the unit is rated for.  Cleaning the air screens will ensure that no debris is pulled into the burner or heat exchanger assembly. After that there is only one more trap to clean and that’s the condensate trap. If the condensate becomes plugged, the condensation (water) that is a by-product of combustion will back up and into the unit causing it to rust.   The rest of our on-demand water heater service will ensure the natural gas combustion is safe and the gas pressures are correct.  

Servicing an on-demand unit is a little more involved and takes more time than a standard water heater.  That extra maintenance should be one of the considerations that buyers have when they are choosing this type of water heater.  The service that R&B provides can help every homeowner gets the full lifespan out of their unit.   Also of note, when things go wrong and major parts like heat exchangers fail, the manufacturer will often ask for your service records to validate the warranty.  

Do these service points really make it last longer?

YES!  For example:

Air is drawn into the unit for combustion.  If this screen is plugged, the inducer motor will have to work harder and will therefore have a shorter life.  Not enough air will cause improper combustion which cause the unit to overheat and drive the heat exchanger to a pre-mature failure.   This means a crack.  And a cracked heat exchanger can easily lead to carbon monoxide CO in the house.  While a threat to the unit itself, you are likely aware already that carbon monoxide (if not read our CO blog) is also a life threatening danger to the inhabitants of the home. These are only a few of the things that can go wrong when these units are not serviced according to recommendations. 

What can I do?

Well, beyond the obvious, (Take advantage of R&B’s specials on water heater services!) if you’re into DIY, there are loads of YouTube videos to take you through the process of a hot water tank service and flush.  For the rest of you, nothing matches the peace-of-mind, reliability and quality of professional work – Do yourself a solid and book your water heater service today.