Hot-Water Heaters: Three Ways to Keep Your Family Safe
Hot-water heaters supply your home with the hot water you need to bathe, wash dishes, and do laundry. However, if heaters aren't properly maintained, they can pose several dangers to your family and your home. Use this guide to make sure your water heater is safely maintained.
T&P Valve Safety
Many hot-water heaters come with a T&P valve, otherwise known as a temperature and pressure valve. They are designed to release pressure buildup in your water heater that could otherwise cause an explosion. You should check this valve regularly to ensure it is in proper working order. To test it, first make sure that the valve is connected to a pipe. Raise the lever to see if water drains from the valve. If this happens, your T&P valve is in proper working order. If it's not, contact your plumber or HVAC contractor to inspect and repair the valve. Be sure to place a bucket underneath the valve. Exercise caution, as the water may be hot.
Be sure that your water heater's thermometer is set at the appropriate temperature. If the temperature is left too high, the water that flows from your faucets can potentially scald or burn your skin. This is especially important if you have small children in your home. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature can also reduce your energy costs and slow the buildup of sediment in your water heater. Be sure to check the thermostat often to make sure that no one has accidentally increased the temperature.
The exterior of your hot-water heater may be very hot, and gas hot-water heaters have a gas flame (the pilot light) that small children might be able to access. If your hot-water heater is in a closet in your home, be sure to put a child safety lock on the door. For water heaters that are simply located in a corner of your basement, consider placing a child safety gate around the unit. You can also partner with your HVAC contractor to build a structure around the water heater to keep small children and pets away from it.
Hot-water heaters can be dangerous, so be sure to have yours inspected regularly to ensure it is functioning properly. If you are not comfortable adjusting the thermostat or checking the valves, consider hiring a professional such as Dick Kearsley Service Center to tackle these tasks for you.