Many homeowners don't think about their water heater until problems arise. However, by performing a simple inspection, you can ensure that your water heater is operating safely and efficiently. Here's what to check:
- Is there a consistent supply of hot water? An unexpected drop in the flow of hot water could signal a problem with the burner, or a build up of sediment in the tank.
- Is the water heater making strange sounds. Boiling sounds coming from a hot water heater are often a sign that sediment has built up at the bottom of the tank. Flushing the tank annually can prevent sediment build up.
- Are there scorch marks near the base of the water heater? This is often a symptom of back drafting. Because this is a safety issue that could lead to carbon monoxide being released in the home, have the water heater inspected by a professional plumber.
- Check the water heater for proper ventilation. Ensure the draft hood above the tank is securely connected. The flu should be connected using a minimum of three screws per joint. Flues that pass through to a chimney should be properly lined and connected to prevent carbon monoxide from re-entering the home.
- Is there a drain pan under the water heater? If the tank is on an upper level of the home, a drain pan will ensure that water leaks do not cause damage to the floor and ceiling below.
- Ensure a drip pipe is in place and is not leaking. The T&P or pressure relief valve should have a pipe that extends 6 inches from the floor.
- Ensure there are no combustible materials near the water heater.