Hello, fellow QJL readers! It’s nice to be able to sit down and write another article for my readers. What’s even nicer is to look back on the many articles written and feel they’re worth repeating. Enjoy!
It’s a cold erev Shabbos, a couple of hours before candle lighting. The food is just about cooked, the cholent prepared, the kids have bathed, and your feet and back need a hot shower (or bath). Yes, the normal early Shabbos chaos is almost over. Your spouse is home, and it’s finally your turn to escape into hot water bliss. That hot water feels amazing, and you can feel the week’s stress fade away…but wait, is the water just warm? Ah, I know, too much cold water, let me adjust the knob - nothing, still warm. No time to worry now, soap up and get moving… OMG, the water is cold, my hair is covered in shampoo, and I’m turning into a popsicle. You let out a shout! Guys, you used up all the hot water!! Then you think: This has happened even when no one was home?! Could it be we didn’t pay the gas or electric bill?! Panic sets in, your mind is racing (Shabbos is like in 45 minutes). Then you wonder: Is it my hot water heater? Is it possible? When we bought the house, the previous owner said it’s almost a new unit! Not being great at math, you realize that was 15 years ago! The home inspector said a hot water heater end of life is at 10 years; after that it’s Keil Maley Rachamim time.
The above scenario happens to so many homeowners. The out-of-sight homeowner’s mentality isn’t unusual. A hot water heater is an essential and critical appliance (yes, just like a refrigerator) that requires attention. Simple maintenance can avoid issues like our erev Shabbos parable. A few simple steps should be followed to avoid replacement of a hot water heater:
Partially draining the hot water heater once a year to avoid rust and contaminants from forming inside the tank
Keeping the general area around the hot water heater free from dust and grime
Keep an eye out for rust around the hot- and cold-water pipes going into and out of the hot water heater
As a side safety note, keep the temperature on the hot water between 110-115 degrees to avoid getting scalded
Of course, calling your plumber to assist you is always a great idea. In the long run, this will save you from an expensive repair or replacement and ensure a constant supply of hot water.