Hot Water Tank Maintenance
Water Heater TPR Valve
A faulty water heater is a time bomb ticking away in your home. When pressure builds in a 30-gallon water heater due to a bad temperature-and-pressure relief valve, it can explode. So what is the "temperature-and-relief valve"? Where is it and how does one check it? It's that little lever on top of your water heater. open and close it several times to dislodge any debris that is keeping the valve from closing properly. If you can't stop the leak, replace it. Frequent tests prevent future leaks by keeping the valve clean.
Aerators: A Tap Tip
You turn on a faucet and all you get is a trickle -- or streams squirting left and right. The problem might not be in your faucet, at all; it might be the small device on the end of the spout called an aerator. But its screen traps all kinds of debris,from rust particles to calcium deposits. Over time, it gradually cuts the flow, leaving only a dribble or weak pressure. The solution is an easy one. First, unscrew the aerator, remove the gunk from the screen (soak overnight in vinegar, if needed) and screw it back on.
Clogged Shower Head
Clogged showerheads are annoying. If yours runs slow, get a cup of white vinegar, pour it into a small plastic bag, then secure the plastic bag with the showerhead completely immersed in the vinegar.. Then leave it in place overnight. This only works for chrome-plated heads and should not be used for brass or gold fixtures. The next morning, remove the bag, wipe the showerhead with a damp cloth and shower away.
Drain That Water Heater
The No. 1 cause of water-heater failure is sediment build-up in the tank. This wastes energy and often requires earlier replacement. However, you can save money and extend the life of your water heater by flushing away sediment. Do it at least once a year. For electric heaters, turn off the power. For gas, turn the control to pilot. Next, turn off the cold-water inlet valve; attach a garden hose to the outlet valve at the bottom. Remember you'll be running hot water, so be careful. Open a nearby faucet to improve flow. Once water drains out, reopen the cold-water valve to flush the tank. Then reverse the process to restore normal operation, turning off faucets last. Also check your thermostat. It should read about 130°F. A water heater that might have lasted only five years could now last 10 or more.