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How Do I Check if My Water Heater is Ready for Wintertime?

Getting Your Water Heater Ready for Fall & Winter

The colder months are coming, and with them comes an added strain on your home’s plumbing system.

As the temperatures begin to dip, and especially during the weeks in the fall when the temperatures can swing a bit wildly, it’s important to make sure that every aspect of your plumbing system has been checked before the cold days are here to stay.


One area that you should never neglect to prepare for the winter months is your water heater. Your water heater is an integral part of your home’s plumbing system and should be maintained annually to make sure it can supply you with clean, hot water all season long.

How can you prepare your water heater for fall and winter? Keep reading to learn how:

Check the Pressure Relief Valve

servicing-a-water-heaterIt’s important to check your pressure relief valve on a regular basis to ensure that there’s no buildup of rust, corrosion, or salt.

If a buildup occurs, your valve may seal up and stop working, which could have dire consequences for your water heater.

To test the valve and make sure that it’s working properly, all you have to do is raise and lower the test lever a few times so that it lifts the brass stem that it’s attached to. When you do this, hot water should flow out of the end of the drainpipe, which will signal that it’s operational.

Flush the Tank

To flush your tank, shut off the power supply (gas or electricity) to your water heater. Then, turn on a hot water faucet and let it run at maximum strength for several minutes to lower the water temperature in the hot water tank.

Once you’ve run your faucet for about 10 minutes or so, shut off the cold water valve located at the top of your tank, and attach a garden hose to your drain valve, and empty the rest of your water into a floor drain.

Adjust the Temperature

checking-water-heater-temperatureMost water heaters are pre-set to 140 degrees, but during the cold winter days, it may not be enough to prevent ice-cold water from shooting out of your faucets and fixtures when you turn them on.

To prevent it, turn up the temperature by 5 or 10 degrees. No need to turn it up more, just a difference of a few degrees will make a big difference.

Check Your Anode Rod

Your anode rod is a specialized, coated rod which is designed to attract any corrosive elements which may be present in your water. Your anode rod plays an important role in keeping your water tank running, as it can prevent rust and corrosion from occurring inside your tank, so it’s important to check it and replace it regularly.

Insulate Your Pipes and Tank

If you’re expecting to experience a particularly cold snap, you can take extra precautions and insulate your tank against the cold. We recommend getting pre-cut jackets from your local hardware store.

Stay comfortable and secure all winter with help from the experts at James Caccia Plumbing Inc. in San Mateo, CA and call 650-342-5363 for fast, effective service.

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