The luxury of having heated water in the home is not fully appreciated until something goes wrong. Taking a shower with water at an ambient temperature tends to turn people into icicles. As experts in installing and maintaining Los Angeles’ water heaters, we understand the importance of owning a properly functioning unit. All Star Plumbing & Rooter has been servicing California homes for more than a decade, and we’ve seen it all! When it comes to your electric or gas water heater, steps can be taken to promote a longer lifespan of proper heating functions. Last week, we looked at a few water heater maintenance tips that can help keep your unit healthy and heated. Today, we’ll look at more moves you can utilize to keep people warm in the shower while keeping cash in your wallet!


Flushing the Tank


One task that is more involved and equally helpful is the process of flushing your hot water heater. As your unit is used more and more, grime and sediment will build up and cause problems to the tank. Beyond the corrosion factor, your gas or electric water heater will also produce less efficient results, causing higher energy bills and a shorter life expectancy for the heater itself. For questions on the specifics of each unique water heater and the frequency of flushing, consult a professional specialist for assistance.


As always, make sure that the unit is powered off for safety reasons. Once everything is shut down, place a bucket or garden hose beneath your drain valve. As long as the water is able to be drained safely and effectively, all should be well. It’s also important to note that the water will be hot, so exercise extreme caution during the draining process!


Open your drain valve by rotating it counter-clockwise. Water should begin to freely flow out of the tank and into your H2O carrying device (bucket or drain). Be sure to drain at least a quarter of the tank, typically one or two gallons. If the water continues to run out with obvious sediment present, keep draining until your bucket is receiving clear water. Once this is done, turn the valve until the tank longer drains. One step that people often forget during this process is to turn their electric water heater back on. Otherwise, you’ll be stepping into a cold shower!


Replacing the Rod


At the top of your tank, you’ll find an anode rod that utilizes magnesium or aluminum to protect it from rust and odors. When exposed to a constant flow of water, one of two metals that are connected will begin to rust. This rod releases sacrificial anodes that will take the place of exposed steel in becoming consumed by the rust process. To cite your science textbooks, the less reactive of the two metals will remain safe. Aluminum and magnesium are more reactive, making them the perfect addition to your water tank.


Convenient timing can make life much easier. When your tank is shut off and the water is drained, it is the ideal time to replace the rod. Use a socket wrench to unscrew the anode rod from the top of your heater. Be cautious, though, as a lot of leverage may be needed to successfully turn it. Once out, dispose of that old piece and begin to apply Teflon tape to the threads of the new part. It’s important that the Teflon goes with the threads, meaning that the material will stretch and tighten as you engage the threads to the contact surface. Otherwise, your tape will come undone and quickly become useless. Once taped, place the new rod in and tighten it completely. Turn the water on, and you’re done!


All Star Plumbing & Rooter has the tools and expertise to handle any issue you may be having. From water heater repair to replacement, we do it all. Maintaining the water heater yourself can be beneficial for a number of reasons. However, all tanks eventually fail and require replacement. If you’re looking for a new unit, consider a tankless water heater! We happen to specialize in that variety as well. All Star is a reliable source for a comprehensive variety of plumbing services for our loyal customers. If you’re needing help in Los Angeles with your water heater, we have the best solutions. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule your free consultation!