Your home's water heater sees heavy use every day, and just like all other major appliances within your home, your water heater can begin to perform less and less efficiently over time as it experiences both stress and age. This can result in reduced effectiveness at providing hot water throughout your home and increased electricity bills each month. While you may eventually have to replace your water heater if it no longer provides you with the hot water you need, there are a few things that you can do to improve the efficiency of your water heater in the short term.
Water Heater Blankets
One the easiest and most effective things that you can do to help ensure that heat is not lost out of your water heater's tank is to install a blanket around it. These blankets are made out of specialized insulation that are not at risk of burning due to constant exposure to high levels of heat, and they help trap heat within your water heater's storage tank. This ensures that your heating element won't have to turn on as often to reheat the water in the tank, reducing monthly energy bills.
In the same train of thought as the above point, you may also want to consider installing plumbing insulation around any exposed pipes in or under your home. This insulation will help prevent hot water from losing as much heat while being transported from your water heater to your water fixture, which can be a concern for larger homes. Plumbing insulation will also help prevent water from freezing in your pipes, which can cause significant plumbing damage and leaks during the winter months. Plumbing insulation can be found at most hardware stores and can be simply cut to size and easily placed by hand. Most plumbing insulation will have adhesive on the interior; if not, it can be simply fixed in place using plumber's tape.
Another thing that you can do to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your water heater is to have the tank professionally drained and flushed of sediment. Sediment can build up due to minerals dissolved within your home's water supply, which can cover the heating element within your water heater and reduce the overall capacity of the tank. This will help restore the effectiveness of your heating element, and ensure that your water heater is not working overtime to heat through a layer of hardened gunk. While you technically can flush your tank yourself, for a more complete cleaning contact residential plumber contractors in your area.