What’s your favorite thing about your tankless water heater? If we asked our customers, we’d get a range of answers from lower energy bills to unlimited hot water (for those that enjoy long showers). Another great benefit that often gets overlooked is easier maintenance.
Compared to a traditional tank water heater, tankless units don’t require as much attention or replacement parts. However, that doesn’t mean you should take a “set it and forget it” approach. To maximize your tankless water heater’s performance and service life, it’s important to regularly clean or replace the water filter, clean the air filter (for gas units), and descale and flush the system.
1. Clean or replace water line filter
Many tankless water heater models have a water line filter that protects against hard water, scale, and sediment. Not only can these contaminants build up and affect the water heater, but they also get passed through the rest of your plumbing, including pipes, faucets, and appliances.
There are a few different types of filters – some that can be cleaned and reused, and others that will need to be replaced. Refer to your tankless water heater user manual to make sure you’re properly maintaining your system. If your tankless water heater doesn’t have a built-in water filter, you can add one to improve water quality and protect your plumbing.
2. Clean the air filter
Some natural gas tankless water heaters also have a filter between the air intake pipe and the fan. Over time, this filter can get clogged with dirt, insects, and other debris that can disrupt the air flow. You may even run into an error message or electrical issue. Luckily, it’s usually quick and easy to clean the air filter. Refer to your user manual, but in many cases, it may be as simple as removing a few screws, taking out the filter, rinsing it with water, drying it off, and reinserting it into the unit.
3. Descaling and flushing the system
The most complicated and time-consuming tankless water heater maintenance is typically descaling and flushing out the unit. Even with the inline water filter, lime and calcium deposits can build up inside the tankless system. If you have hard water, it’s a good idea to descale and flush the unit once a year. For households with soft water or a water softener system, this maintenance can be performed every 3-5 years.
To remove the scale, you can use white vinegar or a specialized descaling solution. You’ll need a submersible pump to cycle the vinegar through the tankless water heater for at least 45 minutes. After descaling, it’s time to flush the unit with clean water by connecting a garden hose to the hot side service valve.
Professional tankless water heater maintenance in Haven and Fairfield Counties
We know you want to enjoy the many benefits of your tankless water heater for years to come. So don’t forget to follow these three tips for maintaining your system. If you need any help or want a professional touch, trust the team at Rick’s Plumbing. To schedule a tankless water heater maintenance appointment, call us at (203) 874-6629.