It is hard to believe that we are less than three weeks away from the official start of winter. It seems that fall had just arrived, and now it is already almost over! As winter creeps closer, you’ll want to get the most out of the fall season as you can, whether that means enjoying Friday night football games, drinking cider and eating donuts, or even completing your fall heating and cooling checklist before the cold weather no longer allows for it. In addition to the many tasks and activities, you have to get done before the winter hits, servicing your water heater is a task that should not be overlooked.

The Farmers’ Almanac has already predicted that Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas will have a cold and snowy winter season. Predicted storms are believed to bring snowier conditions than normal. When it gets colder, ground temperatures obviously drop. Thus, as the pipes pass through the cold ground, the temperature of the incoming water that is carried by them has a significantly reduced temperature. And, cold weather can cause the metal to expand and contract, which could increase the risk of leaks and cracks.

When it comes to the Winter, the last thing you want is having to be stuck with cold water due to a broken water heater. However, by following the tips and advice below, you can get your water heater ready for the winter, reducing the risk of an incident during the cold season.

Clean the tank.

Flushing the tank of your water heater in the fall is a great way to get your water clean and ready-to-go before the winter weather hits. Over the year, your water heater unit brings in water from your main water line. Your main water line can contain different types of sediment like dirt, gravel, and, and mineral deposits. The sediment will eventually sink to the bottom and increase the risk of a clog and contribute to blockages and corrosion in the system. Water heater clogs are more common in areas where the water has a high level of mineral content, but the clogs can also happen when the water heater isn’t serviced on a regular basis. Flushing the tank and ensuring it is clean before filling it with water will help ensure that you have access to hot water while also improving the lifespan of the system.

Check the anode rod.

The anode, or sacrificial, rod prevents the hot water tank from rusting. The rods are typically made of magnesium or aluminum and attract the corrosive elements in water to prevent rust from forming. These rods play an important role in water heaters. If the anode rod becomes corroded, the rod, along with the entire system, will become less effective and will put your water heater at a much higher risk. The anode rod in a water heater should be inspected every few years, and especially before winter to ensure you won’t have to shower in ice cold water.

 Test the pressure relief valve.

When there is too much pressure built up or the temperature is too high inside of your water heater tank, it can cause leaks and shorten the lifespan of your water heater. Worse case scenario, it can result in an explosion of the water heater. Depending on the type of water heater you have can determine the type of timeline you should follow when it comes to testing the pressure relief valve. If there is extra pressure, the temperature and pressure relief valve is designed to automatically open and relieve the tank of the excess pressure. To check the TPR value, following the simple steps below:

  1. Turn off the water and power supply
  2. Place a buck underneath the drain pipe that is connected to the valve.
  3. Lift the tab that is attached to the valve, allowing some water to drain, then closing immediately.
  4. If little or no water comes out when the tab is lifted, or if the water continues to escape once it is closed, you may need to replace the TPR valve.

Check the temperature.

The closer winter gets, the harder it becomes for hot water to reach its comfortable temperature. When winter is closer, and the temperatures — both outside and in the ground — begin to lower, you may find that your hot water is still cold or is taking a while to reach the desired temperature. The best way to prevent this from happening is to increase the temperature setting on your water heater. A simple increase of five to 10 degrees can make a huge difference when you’ve been battling the cold winds all day.

Tri-Elite Advisors Tip: To help avoid scalding hot water, set your water heater thermostat to no higher than 120 degrees. This will also help keep your energy consumption in line!

Consider insulation.

When it comes to protecting your home and saving money, there are few things that come easier than insulating domestic water pipes. Having your pipe and water heater tank insulated is the best way to keep heat contained in your system. Insulation can also prevent pipes from freezing in the winter, reducing the risk of bursting and leaks. You can either purchase a water tank sleeve that includes insulation or by adding foil insulating blankets. Both are effective ways to prevent heat loss in your tank as well as lower your water heating energy bill.

It won’t be too long before we are faced with the harsh winter storms and weather, and the last thing you need is not having access to hot water throughout your household. If your water heater is in need of repairs, contact Tri-Elite Advisors. Our experienced team can quickly get your water heater up and running, right in time for the winter season. Whether you need water heater maintenance or just HVAC repair in the Pennsylvania area, you can rely on Tri-Elite Advisors to ensure your HVAC equipment will be running and performing properly. Contact our team today for a free estimate for 24/7 emergency service.