How To Maintain a Tankless Water Heater

More homeowners are beginning to consider making a switch from their traditional water heaters to a tankless water heater. There are several reasons why the tankless water heater has become a favorite for most homeowners, some of which include the flexibility of choosing the desired powering method, whether the gas-fueled or the electric tankless water heater. In addition to this, the tankless water heater is more efficient compared to the traditional unit as it delivers on-demand hot water without having to consume more power to keep water stored in the tank heated up. Considering the longevity, the tankless water heater can last as long as two decades with proper maintenance while the traditional unit lasts only between 10 to 12 years. To ensure that you get the best of your tankless water heater through comprehensive maintenance, Shower Insider explains how to fix it and the common maintenance practices you should imbibe to improve the lifespan of the unit.

If you are a DIY enthusiast, some of the common problems associated with the tankless water heater like the collection of minerals that erode the inside walls of the heating chambers will require attention, below are some of the information you need to attempt such maintenance services like a professional soon you will even be able to do work on a pool like on this post.

Steps To DIY Maintenance Of Your Tankless Water Heater

Begin By Turning Off The Energy Source

When attempting to perform maintenance checks and service on your tankless water heater, it is recommended that you take adequate steps to ensure that all safety precautions are properly observed. The biggest of these safety precautions is to ensure that the tankless water heater’s energy source is turned off. Doing this will save you from electrocution and other electricity-related hazards that may cause injury or mortal harm. If your tankless water heater uses electricity as its main source of power, be sure to disconnect it from the socket. Also, you can turn off the power for electric tankless water heaters by switching off the breaker in your home’s electrical panel or unplugging the unit from its power source. To do this, locate the circuit breaker that controls the power to your tankless water heater and switch it to the “off” position. You can also unplug the device from its power source by pulling the cord out of the outlet. However, if it makes use of gas, be sure to disconnect it from the power source. If you have a gas tankless water heater, turn off the gas supply valve to the unit. This valve is usually on the gas line that leads to the tankless water heater. Find the gas supply valve and turn it off to stop the gas flow. To turn the valve, you may need a wrench.

It is important to remember that if you don’t know how to turn off the power to your tankless water heater, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions or hire a professional plumber or HVAC (for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technician to help you. When doing maintenance or repairs on your tankless water heater, turning off the power source is an important safety step that can help prevent accidents or injuries.

Close All The Water Valves Attached To The Unit

Closing all the water valves attached to the unit is not typically necessary to maintain a tankless water heater, but it may be required in some specific situations.

For example, if you need to replace a part or do maintenance on the water lines which connect to the tankless water heater, you may need to turn off the water valves to stop water from flowing into the unit while you work on it. But for regular maintenance on a tankless water heater, shutting off all the water valves is usually unnecessary. Typically, you can do the maintenance like checking and cleaning the inlet filter or flushing the system without turning off the water supply.

Hence, if you’re unsure what maintenance tasks are needed for your tankless water heater, it’s always best to check with a professional plumber or HVAC technician. They can help you identify any necessary maintenance tasks and provide guidance on how to perform them safely and effectively. In most cases, there are three water values which are color labeled attached to the tankless water heater. The blue valve signifies cold water, the red for hot water, and the third controls water movement from the mains supply.

Disengage The Purge Port Valve Caps From Their Respective Purge Valves

Disengaging the purge port valve caps from their respective purge valves is a step that may be required when performing routine maintenance on your tankless water heater. Proceeding into the core of the maintenance service, it is recommended that you slowly and carefully disengage the valves from their respective plugged in area.

These valves are on the unit and are used to drain water from the system when the device is being flushed or repaired. By removing the caps, you can open the valves and drain any water left in the system. Each valve resembles a letter ‘T’ and removing the valves relieves the pressure build-up in the valves while also preventing hot water from rushing out of the valve. As a safety precaution, ensure that the hot water valve caps are safely shut off first to protect your skin from burns.

However, it is important to remember that you should only take off the purge port valve caps if you are familiar with plumbing and have worked on tankless water heaters before. Moreover, it is crucial to know that not all tankless water heaters have purge port valves or need the valve caps to be taken off for regular maintenance. Hence, before you try to fix or maintain your tankless water heater yourself, make sure to read the instructions or speak to a professional.

Attach The Hosing Line To Each Valve

Attaching a hosing line to each valve is usually done as part of flushing or descaling the tankless water heater. You may need to buy a hosing line if your water heater is lacking one.  To do this, you must first locate the unit’s service valves. Most of the time, these valves are on the inlet and outlet pipes and are used to close off the water supply to the unit. Connect the hoses to a sump pump that will flush and discharge water from the water heater’s cold and hot valve. This securely eliminates the presence of water.

Once you know where the service valves are, you can connect a hose to each valve. This allows you to flush the unit with a solution of water and white vinegar, which helps remove mineral buildup and other debris from the unit.

Attach The Hosing Line To Each Val

Open The Port Valves And Add Vinegar

Twist the port valves to open it up. Add 9.46 liters of unadulterated white vinegar into the tankless water heater for cleaning. Organic cleaners are more recommended for cleaning the tankless water heater because chemicals can be harmful to your skin especially when not properly flushed out.

Ensure that the drain water is flushed for about 45 minutes to get all the white vinegar out of the heater and consult with the product manual for additional maintenance practices.

Flushing Your Tankless Water Heater

Regular maintenance is recommended by all manufacturers. As part of the recommended routine maintenance, cleaning and flushing are top on the list as they are essential for protecting the unit from chemical build-up and lime deposits.

Tankless water heaters are made to heat water as needed, so they don’t need a storage tank. This means that the water is heated as it goes through the unit. Over time, this can cause minerals and other particles to build up. This debris can make your tankless water heater less efficient, which can cause your energy bills to go up and could damage the unit. When you flush the tankless water heater on a regular basis, you can get rid of any minerals or debris that have built up. This helps the unit run smoothly and efficiently.

Moreover, you can help it last longer and ensure it gives you hot water whenever needed. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for flushing your specific unit since the process can vary depending on the make and model of the tankless water heater.

To Clean The Tankless Water Heater

  1. Turn off the unit or disconnect from the power source
  2. Open water taps to let water pressure out
  3. Disconnect the water inlet and outlet pipes
  4. Connect the inlet of the heater to the pump’s outlet
  5. Connect heater’s outlet and submerge pipe’s end into a bucket of descaling solution
  6. Connect the pump’s inlet using the third pipe and submerge pipe into a bucket
  7. Start pump and allow it run for about 30 minutes while inspection for leaks.
  8. Run clean water through the unit after descaling for about 10 minutes
  9. Reconnect water heater
  10. Open all water valves and connect the heater to a power source.