When to Service Your Appliances
LESLIE: Now it’s time to talk home maintenance. We’ve got Joan in South Carolina who needs some help with the AC and the water heater. What’s going on, Joan?JOAN: Thank you for taking my call. I so enjoy listening to your show on the weekends in Greenville.TOM: Oh, you’re very welcome.JOAN: We have owned – we built out home about nine years ago. And we’re not having a problem but my neighbors are with the air conditioner and the water heater. They’ve replaced both. And my question is how often do you have these appliances – you know, how often do you have them checked?TOM: Well, (chuckles) your neighbor had some bad luck. Both an air conditioner and a water heater can go in eight to twelve years. It’s unfortunate that your neighbor lost both; however, that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to you. In terms of maintenance, couple of things. First of all, you should have the air conditioning compressor serviced at the …LESLIE: Annually.TOM: Yeah, annually; usually in the spring. However, you know, if you have your heating system serviced now, because it’s getting chillier out, it’s not a bad idea to have the AC service done at the same time. Frankly, nothing’s going to happen to it over the winter and this way you’ll know that it’s ready to rock and roll when it gets warm again.LESLIE: When you need to turn it on.TOM: And sometimes it saves you a bit of money. Secondly, in terms of the water heater, not a lot of maintenance needed there but what you would want to do is when you have the furnace serviced, have the water heater burner compartment checked; make sure there’s no rust on top of the burner; make sure that the pilot light is good and strong. Because as gas burns, it’s very corrosive and tends to leave some rust in that area which can impede the flow of the flame, so to speak. And that’s pretty much all you need to do with …LESLIE: Tom, what about draining water from the water heater? There’s always sort of like a mixed school of thought. Drain a certain amount of gallons out annually or don’t?TOM: I don’t think that it’s necessary to drain a water heater. If you have very hard water, some people believe in doing that because the mineral deposits in the bottom of the water heater can sort of form like an insulating layer that can make it a little bit less efficient. But generally speaking, I don’t drain water heaters. But others do and that’s why. (Leslie chuckles)JOAN: Alright. Thank you so much.TOM: Well, you’re welcome, Joan. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.