Of all the things that can go wrong in winter, none may be worse than a burst hot water tank. In this situation, a hot water tank releases 30+ gallons of water all at once, leaving a terrible cleanup job, and the potential for long-term damage to the surrounding area.

One of the first things you can do to avoid this is to pay attention to the noises your plumbing makes when the water is turned on. Any banging or “thumping” noise is a sign that something is wrong. Called a “water hammer”, these sounds mean that pipes are moving when pressurized. When you hear these noises, investigate immediately, then get a plumber out to resolve the issue before a break occurs.

Another enemy of your water heater is rust. Though constructed of and treated with rust-resistant materials, hot water heaters and the surrounding plumbing are not immune to oxidation. This is especially true in areas with hard water, or in older plumbing. Chlorination or other water treatments can help, but eventually, rust will win, and you’ll need to address the problem.

Also, water heaters actually require a maintenance cycle – just like changing filters in your HVAC system or oil in your auto. Though this is something that can be done with a little know-how and TLC, the yearly flush and refill procedure can be time-consuming, and many rely on their plumber to handle the job.

Paul the Plumber knows hot water heaters inside and out. The pros at Paul the Plumber can answer your questions, perform plumbing repairs, and help you set up a maintenance schedule for your plumbing at your home or business.

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