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Do you know who to thank when you step into your hot shower in the morning? One person to include on your list is Edmund Rudd

In 1889, he took existing water heating methods and patented the first safe water heater design. Earlier designs lacked vents and had a tendency to blow up. Not exactly what you’d want to have in your home. 

With the cold season now approaching, it’s time to think about any winter water heater maintenance you need to do. By creating and following a home maintenance plan, you can ensure your water heater runs properly all winter long. 

Follow these five steps to protect your water heater and your warm morning showers.

1. Clear Clutter

The first step to winter water heater maintenance is to clear the space around your water heater. In many homes, the area around the water heater inadvertently turns into a pseudo-storage closet. Keep a clearance of two feet around the unit to allow it to function properly.

In addition to boosting the functionality, by including a de-clutter session on your monthly home maintenance list, you’ll keep it accessible in an emergency. When the water heater is leaking water is not the right time to have to clear the clutter from around your heater. 

2. Know Your Shut-Off Location

To safely perform water heater maintenance, you must know how to turn off the power supply and shut off the water. To cut the power to the water heater, either pull out the plug from the wall socket or turn off the circuit breaker that serves the water heater. 

To turn off the water, find the plumbing line, usually located near the top of the heater, and turn the valve off. 

3. Check the Temperature-Pressure Relief Valve

The temperature-pressure relief valve, or TPR valve, functions to release water vapors if the pressure grows too high inside the tank. As part of your annual home maintenance, check the valve for proper functioning. 

Place a container beneath the valve and open it quickly three or four times. If water leaks from the valve as you test it, you should replace it.  

If this type of water heater maintenance goes beyond your DIY abilities or the time you’re willing to invest in around-the-house fixes, consider a comprehensive maintenance service. There are companies that will come to your home on a regular basis, check everything over, and perform necessary repairs. 

4. Inspect the Anode Rod

After checking the TPR, peek inside the tank at the anode rod. After a while, the anode rod can get coated in minerals or begin to erode. If you see a layer of sediment on it, or if it is smaller than a 1/2 inch in diameter, it’s time to replace it. 

5. Flush Out the Tank 

The final step of your end-of-year home maintenance for your water heater is flushing it out. Attach a hose to the drain valve at the bottom and allow all the water to drain out of the tank. Continue this process until the water runs out clear. 

Go Do Your Winter Water Heater Maintenance

These are five simple steps for winter water heater maintenance. If you’re looking for a more in-depth maintenance list for your water heater and the rest of your home, download this free 21 point checklist

By following those 21 steps, you can make sure your water heater and your home are running smoothly.