Do I Need To Winterize My Water Heater?

image of water heater installation emmaus paLow winter temperatures can cause extensive damage to residential plumbing and water heater installations. For instance, frozen piping would likely hinder the proper distribution of water around your home. As such, you should winterize your home’s water heater before the cold season starts. Here are some tips on how to winterize your water heater:

Check The R-Value

Some modern water heaters come with integrated insulation surrounding the water tank. However, you should check the R-value to determine whether additional insulation is necessary. A water heater’s R-value is printed on the label attached to the heater. It is also found in the user’s guide. The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends insulating any water heaters with an R-value of 24 or lower. The higher the R-value the better and vice versa. Moreover, when your water heater is more than ten years old, you should consider replacing it with a modern and energy efficient water heater.

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Power Off

If you have an electric water heater, you should turn off its power source before winterizing it. This will prevent accidents such as electrocution. Similarly, if you own a gas-powered water heater, you should turn off the main gas valve.

Insulation Material

For starters, wrap any exposed piping parts with a suitable insulation material such as polystyrene, fiberglass, plastic fiber, foam rubber, or cellulose. Most of these products come with detailed manuals that cover common use scenarios and installation instructions. Of course, you should insulate your water heater as well. According to the Department of Energy, water heater insulation can lower your water heating costs by between 4 and 9%. It is worth noting that insulation materials with higher R-values are better thermal insulators than materials with lower R-values.


Draining Water

After insulating your water tank and piping installations, open the relevant faucets to drain all the water. This task is relatively easy. This is especially true when your water-heating system is designed to drain water via gravity. When your system is not designed to drain water this way, you need to use a water pump to push water out of the water tank. Some of the tools and materials you will need for this task include a pair of pliers, hose thread adaptor and an adjustable compressor. Hire a professional plumber for the job in case you are not well versed in pressurized water systems.


All plumbing fixtures in your home including water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure they work properly. Since this task requires domain expertise, you should hire an experienced plumber to perform tune-ups and repairs. Some of the maintenance checks that plumbers undertake include evaluating the water pressure gauge, draining and flushing tank, replacing the anode rod, and inspecting the T&P relief valve.

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You should winter proof your water heater before winter arrives to prevent problems such as burst water pipes or higher water heating bills. Water heating accounts for a large percentage of your energy use. While at it, be sure to take the necessary safety precautions such as turning off the power before insulating your water heater system. Adding insulation to your water heater can be a DIY project but it is best to contact a plumber to handle all of your plumbing maintenance. Furthermore, consider investing in a new water heater if yours is more than ten years old. As with all machinery, the older they are, the less efficient they get. A newer, more efficient model will reduce your home water heating costs significantly.

A water heater installation always needs to be done by a qualified plumbing expert. A plumber has the experience and skills necessary to install your new water heater safely and correctly. Be sure to contact Robinson Plumbing for all of your plumbing needs, including water heater maintenance.  Our plumbers are knowledgeable, experienced, and properly certified. We are a local, family owned company that offers affordable, high quality service.

We service Alburtis PA 18011, Allentown PA 18101, Center Valley PA 18034, Coopersburg PA 18036, East Texas PA 18046, Emmaus PA 18049, Limeport PA 18060, Macungie PA 18062, Old Zionsville PA 18068, Trexlertown PA 18087, Zionhill PA 18981, Zionsville PA 18092, and surrounding areas.

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Call us today at (610) 351-9889 or contact us for any questions that you might have!