The most common type of water heater still is the tank, even though tankless water heaters are becoming more and more common, especially in new homes. The tank-type water heater is fairly inexpensive and easy to replace when it’s time. Regular maintenance is easy to do and worth the time and effort, as it will make your water heater run more efficiently and last longer.

Whether your tank is heated with gas or electricity, keep in mind that the water will be hot, so take precautions when doing maintenance.

The most common problem for water heaters is a buildup of mineral deposits. But this is easy to keep under control by just draining the tank a couple of times a year. All you need to do is hook up a garden hose to the spigot on the front of the tank, run it outdoors and turn it on for a few minutes. When the water runs clean, turn the spigot off and remove the water hose. To prevent drips at the spigot, install a hose end cap with a washer installed.

All tanks should have a pressure valve near or on the top. Should pressure build up inside the tank, this valve is designed to open to relieve the pressure and drain off any water that comes out. Most water heaters will have a pipe hooked up to this valve to carry the water to a safer location. You can test this valve by tripping the lever. Make sure any water coming out goes into a drain or outdoors. You should hear a rushing air sound when the valve is opened. If it fails to operate, you will need to replace it. Close the valve after testing. If it drips, tighten the connection or replace it.

If your water supply is ever shut off and the tank drains, make sure that you turn the gas or electricity off. You should never have heating sources running when the tank is not full. Check your heater for leaks on a monthly basis. Even a small leak can develop into a gusher in no time at all. If your water heater is older than 10 years, it could be rusting on the inside, and a small leak would let you know that you are living on borrowed time and that replacement is imminent.

You can wrap your water heater in a blanket made of insulation designed to fit your specific model. If you have a gas-powered unit, make sure that the vent is properly positioned, never blocked.

Keep your water heater maintained, or you could be in real hot water!


Q: We pack up our winter clothes and store them during the summer. We’ve started using the vacuum-seal bags and wondered if we can quit using the mothballs. What’s your opinion? – J.H.

A: If the bags seal and stay sealed, then you really don’t need the mothballs. On the other hand, these bags may develop leaks and, if any moth eggs are present when you pack the clothes away, then they have all summer to eat your clothes. Better to be safe than sorry – at least use cedar blocks!


If you have the option, why would you use poison to kill pests in and out of your home? Well, Nature-Cide is a licensed pest-management company that makes a line of 100 percent natural products containing essential oils and other natural ingredients. They are nonstaining, safe for kids and pets and they even smell good. Nature-Cide has several formulas for the home, including indoor, outdoor, flea and tick, and one specifically for bedbugs. They are ready to use, so there’s no mixing. Check them out at and take the safer option!