How to Properly Maintain Your Tankless Water Heater

by Jun 29, 2022blog, energy efficiency, hot water heater, plumbing

Tankless water heaters are a wonder of modern engineering. They’re more efficient, take up less space, and can dramatically reduce both your water usage and the cost of keeping it heated.

That said, like any system in your home, tankless water heaters require regular maintenance to continue to provide all these benefits. Here are a few things you can do to prolong the life of your tankless water heater, ensuring it provides you with all the hot water you need effectively and efficiently. Please remember to refer to your water heater’s owner’s manual for maintenance instructions that are specific to your make and model.

Descaling

Water that has high mineral content is called “hard water.” When hard water is heated, a portion of the water evaporates, leaving mineral deposits known as “white scaling.” These deposits will build up over time on your pipes and heater and can cause clogs and loss of water pressure. When your water heater has too many deposits, it’s unable to deliver the amount of hot water typically needed for everyday life. Additionally, letting sediment build-up can dramatically reduce a tankless water heater’s efficiency, costing you more and more to heat water over time.

Thus, it’s important to descale your tankless water heater regularly. Descaling is a process of running white vinegar or a descaling solution through your water heater, which will remove the mineral deposits. If you have a Keurig, Nespresso, or another brand of coffee maker that uses pods, you might have already performed a similar process.

While there are several steps involved in descaling, it’s not particularly complicated, and most people can do this themselves, though we’re happy to help.

Maryland water tends to be harder, so you may need to do this once a year if you experience particularly large buildups. If not, once every two to three years is typically sufficient.

Flush and Drain

As part of the descaling process, it is necessary to flush and drain your tankless water heater. This will help remove sediment buildup and clear out any remaining vinegar or descaling solution, which you don’t want to be present in your water—particularly for cooking! Typically, a proper flush and drain of your water heater will take about 45 minutes, so while it’s time-consuming, it’s an essential step toward maintaining the health of your tankless heater.

Clean the Filter

Along with the internal pipes and valves, the filter is the other part of your tankless water heater that often accumulates mineral deposits. If you’ve ever used a water filter in your kitchen, then you’re probably aware of the amount and type of sediment that can build up on it. In your water heater, a filter is used to prevent sediment from building up on the actual heating element, which will cause a lot of damage to your unit if that happens.

The good news is that most filters in tankless water heaters are built to last the heater’s life. Simply removing it and running it under a tap is usually sufficient to remove deposits. If there are some stubborn pieces that get stuck, you can also try soaking them in vinegar for a bit.

Of course, we’re always happy to perform all the maintenance needed to keep your tankless water heater running at maximum efficiency. Contact us to schedule a visit from one of our plumbing experts.

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