Water heaters are invented to help you have comfort while taking a bath with the cold morning rush, but it can also be your foe. Warning: Hot water systems, like your romantic partners, know how to sulk when ignored, too.
If you ignore your water heater most of the time, without practising utmost care as requested by its user’s manual, the thing may even push you to spend the rest of your days in bed or—sorry—coffin.
Have you remembered the peril of carbon monoxide? In December 2011, Oxford University’s press officer, Katie Haines, died from getting drowned by a thick cloud of carbon monoxide in her room. Her family thought her random migraines were caused by stress, but doctors confirmed it was the fatal chemical from her faulty boiler that killed her.
It does not matter if it happened outside of Sydney or Australia in general. The law of chemistry and physics apply to all corners of the world after all.
So how do you prevent things like this from happening? How will you keep yourself away from a kind of death caused by the thing you had thought to be functioning at your advantage?
The answer is simple: Befriend your water heater. How? Here are some of the tips you may have to do in order to keep that hot water system in good shape and function:
- Practice proper control on its temperature
You don’t want the heater to burn you alive, but you also do not want to be left unsatisfied with the degree of heat that comes out of the tap.
Here’s a tip from the experts: Choose to set your heater’s temperature at 130 degrees Fahrenheit or 55-60 degrees Celsius. No more, no less.
Experts believe that if the water that comes from a machine like the water heater flows with temperature below the given figures, a bacterium that causes Legionnaire’s disease may accumulate. A person may inhale the legionella bacteria deep into the lungs without knowing of its presence through the mist that comes from the shower.
If you place the water temperature at a higher level, it increases the scalding risk, the use of energy and the growth of sediments. Great sediment build up can cause noise from the machine in the next water-heating sessions.
- Check if it still breathes smoothly
Water heaters, especially those that consume gas or oil, also need to breathe. Have you found a circular or rectangular hole on the shell of your water heater? That serves as a window by which you can see what is happening inside, often with the help of a flash light.
Are the things going smoothly inside the heater’s chamber? Have you found any leak? If the chamber’s roof is black, it may signify problems either in combustion, fume, drafting or fire hazards.
Of course, if you see a lot of rust, it is an obvious sign of a problem. Call your neighbourhood plumber for assistance and personalised expert advice.
A healthy chamber will show you a grey metal and sometimes a few white condensation marks.
- Be obedient to its needs
You are the heater’s master, but even great masters need to follow the rules of others. There are instructions that come with the water heater. Follow all of them or ignore them at your own risk. It is never a waste of time to read manuals and check for odd signs of a change in the system.
Always check if the tank has been properly installed or in fair condition before you turn it on or use it.
Don’t forget to save some lives by sharing these pieces of advice.