The water heater within your home is a main system. You rely on it every day. In some situations, it can break down. Sometimes, a broken water heater can spray water all over your belongings. This can create a mold and mildew risk. It might flood the home causing structural damage.
Your home insurance may help cover your losses. However, this usually only applies when the incident was unavoidable. You can avoid most risks with proper maintenance. Do you know how to maintain your water heater properly?
Get an Annual Inspection
The first and most important step for all homeowners is to get an inspection. Ensure a licensed technician visits your home each year. He or she should inspect the hot water heater thoroughly. Often, the same team that inspects your home’s HVAC will also be able to help here. The goal is to look for signs of problems. Electrical problems, water leaks, or problems with the motor need repairs right away. This type of maintenance helps minimize the risk of the system breaking down in the short term.
Check the Pressure Valve
It is a good idea to check the pressure valve on the hot water heater every month. Both gas and electric systems will likely have one. This is a safety device. The manufacturer will call it a temperature and pressure relief valve.
If the tank’s pressure is too high, it can cause an explosion to occur. You can open the valve to release some of that pressure. If it does not open, this is an emergency situation requiring help from a trained professional. Do not let a pressure problem go unchecked.
Flushing the Tank
It is also wise to flush the tank. This can help to remove the sediment that builds up at the base of the water heater. Doing so helps ensure the water heater continues to operate safely and efficiently. Your owner’s manual will provide specific directions on how to do so.
Keep in mind that home insurance only covers hot water tank accidents if you maintain the system properly. They likely won't cover damage resulting from neglect or intentional damage. Document the steps you take to do this. If you need to file a claim, show this information to your agent.
Always Be Safe
As you look at the water heater in your home, take steps to minimize risks to yourself. Both gas and electric water heaters need a visual inspection from time to time. Be sure to only do an inspection yourself if you feel safe doing so.