Water Heater Maintenance Tips
Caring for your natural gas water heater
- Keep the burner area free of dust and dirt.
- Store combustibles or flammables such as gasoline or paint away from the water heater.
- A gurgling noise when the burner is on is a sign of sediment buildup which can damage your water heater. To keep lime deposits and sediment from building up in your water heater, starting when it's new, every month drain several pails of water from the drain valve near the bottom of the water heater.
CAUTION: An older water heater which has not been regularly drained may already have lime deposits that make it impossible to completely close the drain valve after draining water from the tank as suggested. It may also cause a constant drip.
Relighting the pilot light
If the pilot light on the water heater goes out, shut off gas to the appliance. Do not use tools to turn the gas valve; use hand pressure only. Relight according to the manufacturer's instructions, usually found near the control on the lower part of the tank. If you have difficulty relighting, call a qualified appliance service technician or qualified heating contractor.
Safe water temperatures
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has identified hot tap water as a major cause of scald injuries. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. The commission recommends water temperatures of 120F to 125F ('Low' or 'L' on some thermostat dials)to avoid most scald injuries. To check your tap water temperature:
- Let the hot water run from the bathroom faucet for one to three minutes.
- Using a reliable thermometer, check the temperature of the water coming from the faucet.
- Repeat the test in the kitchen sink and other bathrooms in your home.
Turn your water heater thermostat to the lowest setting comfortable for you and your family. For most people, 120F is sufficient and safe. Today's dishwashers typically have booster water heaters to further heat water to the higher temperatures needed for dishwashing.
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877-HSP-1664 in Greater Minnesota, or complete and submit our online request form for information on payment options available through CenterPoint Energy's Home Service Plus.