A tankless water heater is exactly what it sounds like. Rather than store and continually heat water in a tank, the unit instantly heats any water which passes through it.
A tankless water heater’s primary advantage is its energy efficiency. The unit is 24% to 34% more efficient than a conventional storage tank model in homes that use up to 41 gallons of hot water a day. The average household uses about 50% more water than that. Furthermore, a tankless water heater is still 8% to 14% more efficient in homes that use about 86 gallons of hot water per day.
Tankless water heaters typically cost more than traditional alternatives, but their lower energy usage will eventually offset their higher upfront price. What’s more, whereas a conventional storage tank water heater lasts about 10 to 15 years, a tankless water heater’s average lifespan exceeds two decades!
In order to appreciate your tankless water heater’s true value, you have to properly maintain it. It is advisable to have your tankless water heater professionally serviced once every year – or every six months, if the area you live in has hard water. But if you would rather maintain your tankless water heater on your own, here are the steps you must follow!
Flush the System
Tap water commonly contains dissolved calcium and magnesium – the two minerals that put the “hard” in “hard water.” If you’re familiar with the scaling that hard water deposits on the interior walls of pipes, then it should come as no surprise that tankless water heaters are just as vulnerable.
Hard water minerals do their worst damage to a tankless water heater when they accumulate on its heat exchanger unit. A heat exchanger is a component that heats the water. Mineral deposits will gradually make a heat exchanger unit less efficient until it finally fails altogether.
Fortunately, flushing your system is easy! First, disconnect the power (because you never want to be around water and electricity at the same time). Then turn off the water and attach a recirculation pump filled with a water-vinegar solution to it. Allow the recirculation pump to circulate the solution through the tankless water heater, which will loosen and clear out the offending mineral deposits. Lastly, flush your tankless heater with plain water, reconnect it to your water supply, and turn it back on.
Clean the Water Filter
The vast majority of tankless water heaters have integral water filters. These prevent sediment and other types of debris from accessing the unit’s delicate mechanical components in order to preserve efficiency and functionality. After you have consulted your tankless water heater’s manual to locate its water filter, simply turn off the unit, remove its filter, gently clean it with warm soapy water, and then dry it with a cloth before replacing it.
Clean the Air Filter
Your tankless water heater’s air filter serves a similar purpose: it keeps debris from gumming up its internal workings, making the unit increasingly inefficient and eventually breaking it. Cleaning your tankless water heater’s air filter is as simple as removing the component, gently brushing it with warm soapy water, patting it completely dry with a cloth, and replacing it.
Clean the Exterior
Regularly cleaning the exterior of your tankless water heater will make its air filter’s job a whole lot easier. As with the other steps detailed above, you want to make sure your unit’s power and water supplies are both deactivated before cleaning its exterior. At that point, all you have to do is wipe down the entirety of the unit to remove any dust and other debris that have gathered on it!
You are perfectly forgiven if you would rather not tend to your tankless water heater’s maintenance yourself. But engaging a professional to take care of such an important chore isn’t just convenient. A plumbing expert will also spend part of their visit inspecting your unit’s various electrical and mechanical elements to make certain nothing indicates any signs of imminent failure. A pro will catch problems that can be easily mended before they devolve into expensive repair jobs!
If you live in Albany, Avon, Cold Spring, Eden Valley, Freeport, Kimball, Lake Henry, Paynesville, Richmond, Rockville, St. Joseph, or Watkins, Minnesota, then the professional team of Gilk Plumbing, Heating & A/C is always standing by to help maintain and service your tankless water heater. We’re also poised to install a great new energy-efficient model in your home or place of business. If you’re ready to start saving significant money on your energy bills, then we welcome you to contact us today!