Buying Guide

Maintenance Tips: Keeping A Tankless Water Heater Efficient

A tankless water heater has a lot of advantages. Once you overcome its initial high cost, you will find that it will last you for two to three decades. Moreover, this heating system doesn’t even need large storage space, you can even install it outside your house if there’s a lack of space inside. All these advantages are certainly enough to lean towards getting a tankless heater. But even with all these features, you will have to invest in its maintenance and repair.

Know that this repair and maintenance can turn to be costly if you don’t know just how the system works or how to properly take care of it so that it lasts for a long long time. So to help you out, here’s a full guide on it which will reduce your professional maintenance cost and make the system last for a long time.

Why does your tankless water heater need maintenance?

Know that over long periods of use, the heater will accumulate different kinds of deposits. This thing is normal and expected to happen. But the problem is that this accumulation can erode the walls of the machine and compromise its ability to properly function. Over time it will erode the heating chamber and further affect the ability of the machine to function to its best capacity. You will find that over time this kind of deposits can bring your system to a complete standstill. This is why you need to spend on proper maintenance once a year at least.

But there are a lot of things which you can do by yourself so that you don’t have to spend money and time calling a plumber every time something goes wrong.

How to flush your tank water heater?

You can call in a professional to help flush your water heater so by following carefully some instructions, you can do it yourself. If you want to do it on your own then follow the below steps:

  • Power off

Always switch off the heater fight from the power port itself when you have to clean up the heating tank. With a power off you will be breaking up the power circuit and this will let you dismantle the water heater. On the other hand, if you are using a model that uses gas then just switch off the supply of gas to the machine.

  • Switch off its valves

Know that a tankless water heater generally comes with three kinds of valves that are connected straight to the tank. One is blue while the other is red. The first one ensures that you get cold water while the red one is of course so that you get hot water. The third valve can come in any colour. This is the valve which lets water into the house. The basic idea behind switching off the valves is simple. Just like powering off the system so that there’s no power while cleaning the heater, similarly, switching off the valves ensures that there’s just no running water going through the machine when you will be cleaning it.

  • Remove the pot valve used for purging

All the valves mentioned above come with an extra one on it. You will find that you will have to get rid of it carefully so that any pressure which could be present inside the system gets released. This will make it safer for you to work on the water heater. Such purge valves are identifiable since they have a small hand-letter T written on it. Once you have turned off the valve, you should double check to fully ensure that it’s indeed fully turned off. After all, you surely won’t want hot water dripping off on your skin and burning it.

  • Attach up the hoses to those valves

The tankless heater will come with a bunch of hose lines which will help in flushing the tank. First, connect up the lines carefully to the above stated three valves. Since there are various models of tankless heaters available in the market, so it’s possible that it doesn’t come with a supply hose. No need to worry about this as you can very easily buy it from a vendor. Before connecting the hoses make sure that read the instruction manual of the unit. This will allow you to get the connection right on the first attempt itself. If you face trouble doing this, just call a professional.

  • Clean with a mild agent

If you have followed the above steps carefully, then know that you will be able to flush the tank and wash away all the mineral deposits very carefully. You can use regular water and soap to properly wash away all the deposits. But you can also use water tank mixtures or white vinegar to clean the tank. Don’t opt or using harsh chemicals as it can damage your water heater and make it malfunction. Apart from this, using harsh chemicals makes the water which will be filled up later on contaminated. So when you use this water to bathe, cook, or wash, then it can affect your health.

How to clean up your water filter?

Flushing the water heater isn’t the only thing which you can do by yourself. You can also clean your water filter. Some tankless models have a tool called sediment screen that can be used for trapping up large pieces of debris right before it goes to the system’s heating unit. These screens are durable and last pretty long. You will find that it will last you just as long as the water heater. But as with every part, you should carefully clean it occasionally so that the debris and sediments don’t form a blockage. Here’s how to clean it:

  • Soak up the screen in some undiluted vinegar (white) for a while.
  • Hold the screen under running water and then clean it properly till you get rid of all the sediments.

How frequently should you flush and clean your heater?

As said at the beginning, this activity will help remove all the deposits and lime from the water heater and the screen. Flushing is also called descaling and you should carry it out two times a year. This will help keep your heater in good shape.

Always go for regular inspections

Know that you should make it a rule to inspect your tankless heater every few months, even if there’s nothing visibly wrong with it. This kind of regular inspections will help keep it working and if there’s something to be cleaned, then you will either be able to do it before things get worse or do it right when the need arises. In case some parts do break off, regular inspections will help you stay ahead of the expenses as well. You will have enough time to raise money to fix the issue before it gets worse. Here’s how to check the water heater properly:

  • First, inspect the pipes which are involved in supplying water to the tank. Make sure that there are no cracks and that nothing appears broken. If water is dripping then try to fix it right away either by yourself or call a plumber. Water dripping can cost you a lot in electricity and water bills.
  • Always remember to get rid of water from the tankless water heater before checking. Otherwise, there’s always the fear that you will burn your skin on hot water.
  • Check on the heating unit and element to ensure that it’s in working and good condition. If anything appears to be out of the normal ordinary working condition, then mark the part or area and call a professional later on.
  • Make sure that the valves are working as well.

Read the instruction manual

Once you buy the tankless heater, make sure that you read the instruction manual that comes with it. There will be a lot of parts that will be unique to the model so you should acquaint yourself with that. Also, note that sometimes the flushing and cleaning method will be different for different models and the valves can be of different colours as well. All this information will be found in the manual. Don’t leave everything up to the professionals, knowing about the parts can help you in an emergency as well. Knowing your unit well will also help you when you are inspecting it and prevent you from paying money to fix issues that can be easily fixed at home.

These are the things which you should keep in mind while inspecting your tankless model. But while inspecting, don’t touch anything or try to open anything which you don’t know how to put back into place. Any wrong move and you will have to pay up a hefty sum to a professional to fix it back again just because a simple personal inspection went wrong. So check carefully, but regularly so that your tankless water heater keeps functioning fine for years without you having to shell out more money than usual.

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