Your water heater may look nice and peaceful sitting in a corner or a closet, but it can break down or even explode if you don’t keep it maintained. Fortunately, keeping it maintained is easy.

Keep your Vents in Top Shape

Good ventilation is important because it keeps carbon monoxide from coming into your home or garage. To see if it needs to be repaired, make sure that the gas vent goes up and out of the room without any dips, that the vent and the water tank’s draft diverter are the same size, and that the vent sections are properly tightened when going through walls.

How to Prevent Fires

You should also avoid keeping combustible items near the heater and turn off the pilot light if you plan to use them in the vicinity. If you have your heater in the garage, then keep the pilot light at least 18 inches off of the floor. Gasoline vapors from your car often collect on the floor, and these can also start a fire.

Inspect your Temperature-Pressure Relief Valve

This should be done by the experts at Alvarez Plumbing in Salinas. This valve should let water flow out when it’s pulled up and shut off the flow when it’s not handled. It should also open on its own when too much pressure builds up inside the tank. Flushing your heater annually is also a good idea to keep sediment and rust from building up. To keep yourself from being burned, make sure that you have a drain line plumbed outside if possible.

Keep it Hot and Properly Insulated

Next, always keep the in-tank temperature around 130 degrees. If it’s too high, then you could be badly scalded while sediment rapidly forms inside. Legionella bacteria will form inside if the temperature’s too low, and these can give you Legionnaire’s disease if you breathe them in while taking a shower or even doing dishes. The only time it’s acceptable to have your tank use less energy is when you’ll be away on vacation.

Insulating the pipes going in and out of the heater saves both water and energy in the long run, but there are rules. First, don’t use insulation within 6-8 inches of the exhaust vents at the top. Second, you’ll only need to insulate three feet of the cold water pipe and six feet of the hot pipe.

Protect your Heater from Earthquake Damage

The next tips are especially important here in California as they deal with keeping your water heater safe during earthquakes. First, you should have an automatic shutoff valve, which can cut the flow of gas if the ground moves. This will prevent deadly and difficult-to-control fires if a strong earthquake hits your home. We can install these valves if you wish. Next, keep your water heater properly strapped to your wall, so it can’t tip over and sever the gas line when an earthquake comes. Even if earthquakes aren’t prevalent in your area, strapping your heater in can keep it from falling over for other reasons.

Do you need your Heater Fixed?

If your heater does end up causing you trouble, then Alvarez Plumbing in Salinas can fix it. We are the Monterey Bay area’s top experts when it comes to water heater maintenance and repair with over three decades of plumbing experience. Since we know the ins and outs of all types, we can identify your problem and fix it as soon as possible. If we can’t, we’ll help you to find a new heater. Contact us at Alvarez Plumbing today.