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Water Heater – Maintenance Guide | Repair and Replace

Hi, I’m Vance and welcome to Repair and Replace. If you want to extend the life of your waterheater then regular maintenanceshould be done once a year. This will also give you a sense of any futureproblems before they arise. In this episode we’ll go over how to properlymaintain your standing pilot water heater. First we’ll look for leaks and then we’llcheck the airflow. Next we’ll test the pressure and temperaturerelief valve, then check the anode rodto see how corroded it is. Finally we’ll drain and flush the tank toremove the sediment. Let’s begin. Before you get started, you’ll need a gardenhose, a bucket, a 1 & 1/16th inch socket, a half inch drive socket wrench, a breakerbar, a screwdriver, needle nose pliers, a wire brush, teflon tape,and a multi-use cleaning brush.First turn the gas supply off, or perpendicularto the pipe. Now set the water heater to the pilot setting,and turn the gas control off. Next shut off the cold supply. Keep in mind that the water inside the tankis still hot, so use caution when draining or accessingthe tank. To start, it’s best to do a walk around tocheck for any leaks. Check the inlet and outlet pipes leading intothe tank. Next check the pressure and temperature reliefvalve, looking for any water weeping around the threadsor around the valve body. Now look at the drain valve. If you see any water leaking it’s bestto replace that part. You can see how to replace the pressure andtemperature relief valve as well as the drain valve in the videos linkedbelow. If you have a standing pilot water heater, it’simportant to check that there is good airflow. On the bottom of the tank, air is broughtin through a flame arrestor screen, which can get cloggedwith dust or debris.This can create backdrafting, which can causethe pilot to blow out. Anything can be used to clean the screen,but this is easily done with a multi-use brush, such as one used toclean the bottom of refrigerators. Now check the flue vent, and clean out anydust around it. The temperature and pressurerelief valve is by far the most important safety devicein water heaters. If the pressure or temperature inside thetank gets too high, the valve will open and release water, preventing the tankfrom exploding. It’s important to test the valve to be surethat the valve can open when needed. Place a bucket below the drain tube and liftthe lever to drain several gallons of water. Now close the valve. The water should stop flowing completely. Now if the relief valve doesn’t close, andyou still have a little bit of water flowing, then you’ll have to replacethe valve. And you can see how to do this in the videolinked below. First, open a hot water faucet in the house. This will let in air and relieve pressurein the system. Place a bucket underneath the drain valve.Open the valve to drain several gallons ofwater, this will reduce the pressure in the tank. Ideally you want to leave mostof the water in the tank as the weight will keep the tankfrom sliding around. The anode rod is sometimes under a plasticcover, this will usually just pop off. If you haven’t checked it in years, it mightbe stuck in place, and will be difficult to remove.To prevent the tank from shifting, you canuse a piece of wood to stabilize the tank. Alternatively, you can get another personto help support it. To get it started, you’ll need to increasethe torque. One way is to use a breaker bar. Additionally you can use a copper pipe asan extension or snipe. Once the nut is starting to spin, then youshould be able to use a regular socket wrench tounscrew it.Now use the needle nose pliers remove theanode rod. Each year that you check the anode, take noteof what has changed. Most anodes will last 4-6 years, but thisdepends on the pH and purity of the water. If you can see the bare steel core or if therod is completely encased with calcium, then the anode will have to be replaced. To get a good seal, its best to clean outthe threads with a wire brush. Next apply the teflon tape.This will help seal the threads and make iteasier to remove and check the rod. Looking at the threads, tape is always appliedin clockwise direction, so that the tape stays on when tightened. Wrap 3-6 times, keeping it tight the wholeway through. Leave the last part of the thread bare, to prevent any tape frombreaking off into the tank. Now screw the nut into placeuntil it is hand tight. Finally use the socket totighten it into place. To do a deep flush of your tank, you’ll haveto drain all the water. First, connect the garden hose to the drainvalve. Open the valve to drain the water. This process can be slow and might take 30minutes or more to drain. Now that the tank is empty you can do a flushto remove some of the built up sediment.Turn on the cold supply for 20 seconds toblast water into the bottom of the tank. This will agitate and lift the sediment. Now drain the water. You can repeat this 4 or 5 times as needed until the water draining out ofthe hose is running clear. Now open the cold water supplyto fill the tank. Check the faucet, you should hear the airbeing pushed out of the system. Close the faucet once you get a smooth streamof water.This will tell you that the tank is full,and the air has been removed. If you have an electric water heater, turnon the power at the breaker. For gas water heaters, turn on the gas, andrelight the pilot. To see how to relight the pilot, watch thevideo linked below. Now that you know how to properly maintainyour water heater, it will be easy to keep it running smoothly. For more troubleshooting on water heaters, furnaces and appliances,then subscribe to our channel.And if you need help, you can call or visitan AMRE location to talk with our knowledgeable staff. Thanks for watching..