An often unthought-of scenario is a water heater bursting. Out of nowhere, the ceiling can cave in with water rushing everywhere. Unfortunately, this kind of event occurring is a lot more common than one would think, as a water heater bursting or leaking is one of the top reasons for residential water damage. Trying to repair the damage done by the water heater, as well as replacing the whole thing, it could cost up to thousands of dollars.
Not only is the cost of a water heater expensive, but you will also have to fund the cost of fixing all the damage the flood has done. Furniture and flooring may have to be replaced, and water damage restoration will need to be performed to ensure that no water is left behind. To avoid the headache of a water heater flood, there are simple maintenance tasks that can be done.
Every year, the tank of the water heater needs to be both drained and flushed. Sediment from the water settles and builds up at the bottom of the tank, creating a layer that insulates the liquid from the heater. This forces the water heater to run longer and hotter, which deteriorates the tank over time.
This task will likely only need to be performed once a year, but make frequent check-ins to see if it needs to be done sooner. A sign that the sediment has built up is the sounds it makes, such as popping or knocking. These sounds happen because the water is having difficulty escaping the sediment layer.
When inspecting the water heater on your own, there are a few things to look for and test. First, the anode rod needs to be checked. This is a rod inside the water heater that prevents rust from building up on the tank and into the water. If you notice that this rod is beginning to rust, it needs to be replaced immediately. Once the anode rod rusts over, the tank will begin to do so next. Inspect the anode rod for rust and deterioration every two years until the heater’s warranty expires, and then every year. If the rod looks severely rusted, replace it. Anode rods need replacement every three to five years.
In addition to the anode rod, the temperature and pressure relief valve will need to be tested at least twice a year. This valve works to minimize the pressure buildup in the water heater. If it is failing, it's only a matter of time before your water heater bursts. A simple test can be performed by turning on the switch for five seconds to ensure it can release water. If it cannot, it will need to be replaced.
To avoid a burst, make sure that the thermostat is always set to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit to reduce the pressure. When the temperature is too high, from 140 and more, the pressure will build too high and risk a burst.
Water heaters are very durable and can last up to 10 years. However, after that time period, water heaters can start to show signs of failure. Cloudy or foul-smelling water, temperature fluctuations, and insufficient hot water are all signs that your heater needs to be replaced soon. Consider replacing your water heater after 10-12 years.
Sometimes you can do absolutely everything right, taking precautions and inspecting regularly. However, unforeseen problems can appear and accidents can happen. Your water heater could still leak and burst after all that. Because of that, water damage can take hold of your home. Attempting to clean it on your own can be overwhelming and even dangerous, so allowing for help to come in is often your safest option. Professionals at Harper Special Services are always available to help. They will begin water damage restoration immediately to bring your home back to comfort and safety.