How to Prepare Your Water Heater for the Winter Months


When the air cools down, it’s time to take an important step to prevent accidents: get your water heater ready for winter. Preparedness is the key to protecting your water heater and family during the frigid winter months. In a few easy steps, you can save yourself the trouble of cold showers and high water bills next spring. Whether you have an electric or gas-powered water heater, these steps will help set you up for a comfortable winter.

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Set the temperature to 120 degrees

To avoid the risk of burst pipes and water damage, many choose to turn off the water supply to the heater for winter. But, there is another way where you can still provide hot water without energy loss or inevitable exposure to freezing temperatures. Set your water heater temperature at 120 degrees Fahrenheit (or lower if needed) before turning off the water supply and seal it with plastic wrap and a rubber band.

Drain buildup and sediment from the bottom of the tank

If you are noticing a foul odor coming from your water heater and/or sediment has accumulated at the bottom of the tank, it is probably time to drain and flush the tank. The sediment buildup comes from two sources: iron and copper. Plus, if you notice that your hot water isn’t as hot as it used to be or that the heat doesn’t last as long- it is very likely due to the tank being fully or partially plugged up with sediment.    

Look for rust or corrosion around your water heater

It can be hard to know if your water heater is operating properly. Over time, the area around your water heater can rust or corrode. This corrosion can be an early indicator of a potential issue with your water heater and should be monitored closely. Corrosion can be easily identified by rust or blue/green staining.

Insulate the water heater tank and pipes

Insulating your water heater tank and pipes can save 25 percent or more on the cost of heating your water during the coldest months of the year. How does it work? As the hot water flows through the pipes from your home to your faucets, heat is lost. By insulating the water heater pipes and tank, you slow down this energy loss and save money by reducing the amount of energy needed to keep up with daily hot water use.

Call a plumbing contractor to service your water heater today

Don’t wait till the water heater fails to be proactive with your plumbing system. To avoid costly repair bills, a smart residential and commercial property owner will have to service their water heater once every three to twelve months. A water heater is an essential part of any home. In addition to keeping it running at peak performance, service allows you to eliminate any problems before they get worse.

You should call a contractor to service your water heater today for many reasons. One reason you should call is that there are so many things that could go wrong with it, and you might not know how to fix it yourself. There are many components to a water heater, from the tank itself to the heating element, pump, and thermostat. Having a contractor come out can give you peace of mind knowing your heater has been well-inspected and repaired. Call your trusted local plumbers today!