Jeanine Connor's Blog
You may not think much about your hot water heater. Unless of course, your hot water heater ends up breaking down. Hot water is so important in our homes, yet we take this resource for granted. Hot water does a lot in our homes from clean our laundry to disinfect our dishes to heat up our showers. We use it without thinking about it.
If you neglect your hot water heater it can cause some costly damage to your home. Your basement could end up flooded. Pipes can burst. You can be without the use of hot water for days- even weeks- if you’re not vigilant about taking care of your hot water heater.
Once water is gushing from the source, the best course of action is to simply shut the water off to your home. Before you even get to that point there are some tell tale signs of damage to your hot water heater that can be detected before major issues arise. First, if you notice any type of water around your hot water heater, you should get it checked out. Don’t look at it as “no big deal.” Any type of moisture or water stains around the water heater itself are a sure sign that something isn’t right with the unit.
As a homeowner, you should know just how old your hot water heater is. Usually, the installation date on the heater is noted somewhere along with the serial number. The typical hot water heater lasts about 9-11 years. If you live in an area with hard water, this number can vary.
Once the damage is done to your hot water heater you’ll likely have a large cleanup project on your hands. You’ll need to call water extraction services that will help dry out the area and clean up any baseboards that can become hazardous. Sometimes, these projects can get a bit bigger than you’d ever expect. After the water is pumped out, the cleanup has only just begun.
Why Hot Water Heaters Fail
The minerals from water tend to build up (especially in the case of hard water) and cause the unit to rust out form the inside. While the inside of the tank contains glass, it does have metal pieces that can rust. You can replace certain parts of the hot water heater from time to time to keep it in good working order, the best prevention is to replace your water heater when the time is right. Don’t let the unit sit until way past its expiration date.
Being The Homeowner
As a homeowner, you probably wonder if something like a broken water heater were to happen if your insurance would cover the cost of the damage. The insurance will cover the cost of cleanup and repairs. The insurance will not cover the cost to replace the hot water heater or any labor costs. The only way the entire cost would be covered is if you have a home warranty.
A simple thing that you can get to help alleviate major damage to your home from a hot water heater is to get an alarm. This little device is inexpensive and will alert you when any water hits near the areas of the alarm. This could save you a lot of costly damage and repairs. The most important thing that you can do in your home to prevent major damage from a hot water heater is to stay vigilant and keep on top of maintenance and replacement timelines.
- Inspect roof for any damage that could have occurred from the harsh Winter weather.
- Look for any other Winter related damage around the parameters of your house.
- Scrape, sand, prime and/or paint any spots around the home that need it.
- Clear out lawn and garden beds from any debris to make way for new growth.
- Plan out your Spring and Summer planting, gardening and landscaping projects.
- Sort through winter clothes before storing them for the season. Donate any items your children may have outgrown and repair anything that needs mending.
- Clean your home top to bottom by wiping down ceilings, walls and baseboards.
- Vacuum and wipe down window panes and sills.
- Consider holding a yard sale to get rid of any extra clutter that may have gathered over the year.
- Deep clean the carpets in your home.
- Clean out the inside of your fridge and vacuum the coils on the back.
- Test all smoke detectors.
- Have your air conditioner serviced before the hot weather hits.
- Pressure wash your house and garage siding as well as your driveway.
- Spray insecticides and bug repellants.
- Inspect fire extinguishers and purchase some if you do not already own any.
- Flip and rotate mattresses and couch cushions.
- Regularly prune trees and shrubs.
- Drain and/or flush your water heater.
- Clean all patio furniture before storing it for the winter.
- Touch up any paint that may be peeling and worn from the Summer heat.
- Check seals on windows and doors as well as caulking. Make sure your home is well-sealed to prevent any energy leaks over the Winter months.
- Clean out the gutters along your home.
- If your home has chimneys have them professionally inspected and cleaned.
- Schedule a furnace inspection before the cold weather hits.
- Take the time to clean and organize your kitchen to prepare for holiday cooking.
- Test and replace batteries in fire alarms.
- Rake up leaves to prevent debris buildup.
- Install storm windows to prepare for colder weather.
- Clean and organize your attic and/or basement.
- Sort through your family's’ Summer clothes before storing them for the season. Donate any your children have outgrown and repair any that need mending.
- Change your furnace’s filters throughout the season as needed.
- Check the grout around your home and repair as needed
- Program your thermostat for maximum energy savings.
- Schedule a termite inspection.
- Clean out the vents to your dryer.
- Before packing holiday decorations up for the year ensure they are clean, organized and in working order.