How to Guarantee Your Water Heater is Ready for the Cold Season

Fall is officially here, and that means winter, and it’s colder days are on the way as well. Before the frost settles in, it’s important to take the time to prepare your home’s plumbing for the added strain that colder temperatures can put on your system.

One of the most important areas to check is your water heater, because without adequate care and maintenance you may find yourself without access to hot water when you need it the most.


Have you ever performed maintenance on your water heater? If not, keep reading to learn how:

Flush the Tank

Before you flush your tank, make sure to turn off the gas or electric power supply to the tank; then, turn on a hot water faucet in your home and allow it to run for several minutes (about 10 should do).

checking-water-heater-temperatureLeaving the hot water running for a few minutes will help lower the temperature inside the tank and make it safer to touch.

Once you’ve run your faucet for a few minutes, turn it off and shut off the cold water valve which can be found on top of your tank. Then, attach a garden hose and empty the rest of the tank into a nearby floor drain.

Insulate Your Tank and Pipes

If you’re expecting a particularly harsh winter or a cold spell, insulating your tank and pipes may help keep your energy costs low and prevent damage from your system, which will have to over-work in order to heat your water to its normal temperature. We recommend buying pre-cut jackets, which are generally available at your local hardware store.

Make a Temperature Adjustment

prepare-water-heater-for-cold-weatherDips in the outdoor temperature can affect how well your water heater can heat your water supply, and if you’re experiencing issues with colder-than-usual water, simply turn up the temperature inside the tank by a few degrees.

Don’t go too overboard: a simple adjustment of 5 to 10 degrees will be more than enough to keep you comfortable all winter long.

Check Your Pressure Relief Valve

It’s easy for rust and corrosion to build up around your pressure relief valve and cause it to stop malfunctioning, which can have serious consequences for your water heater.
check-pressure-relief-valveTo test the valve and ensure that salt and other clog-inducing issues haven’t built up over time, raise and lower the test lever a handful of times and check to see that it lifts the brass stem which is attached to it.

When you lift it up, hot water should flow out of the end of your drainpipe, signaling that everything is in perfect working order.

Inspect Your Anode Rod

Water heaters are equipped with anode rods, which attract any corrosive elements which may be in your water supply, such as minerals and calcium. If your anode rod is worn out and not functioning properly, then your water tank may be susceptible to issues and clogs from corrosion, so it’s important to inspect it regularly.

Get reliable plumbing service to keep you warm all winter long by calling 408-215-4612 to reach the experts at Genmor Plumbing, Inc in San Jose, CA.

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