How to Take Care of Tankless Water Heaters

Did you know that with the right maintenance tankless water heaters can go for years without any problems? However, in reality, drop in temperature and lack of hot water are the most common problems encountered with water heaters. What do you do if the burner gets clogged, for example? Do you simply replace the burner? What is the proper way of taking care of your tankless water heaters?

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

For this type of water heaters, it helps to know that the water goes through small apertures that can get easily clogged. So it would help if you have a fairly high quality of water. This means that hard water can be damaging to the water heater so installing a water softener can save you a lot of troubles. If the hardness of the water is beyond 8 grains a gallon, installing a water filter before the water heater is advised.

It is also necessary to flush the water heater every six months to clear the small apertures. You will know that it is time when the water supply slows down. You have an option of doing it yourself or calling a licensed plumbing professional.

If you are doing it yourself, you will need a submersible pump or a small sump pump, two hoses, two gallons of white vinegar, and a 5-gallon bucket. Here is what you should do.

  1. Remove the cover and turn off the inlet as well as the outlet valves. Since you are dealing with a gas-fed unit, you must turn off the gas supply to the unit.
  2. Proceed by pulling out the silver tab at the center of the pressure relief valve to release the water pressure of the water heater.
  3. Position the pump suction pickup in the bucket that contains vinegar. The hose should run from the inlet of the water heater to the pump with the other hose coming from the pressure relief valve to the bucket.
  4. Power on the pump to allow the vinegar to run through the water heater for about 15 to 20 minutes. This process cleans the mineral deposits or scales in the water heater.
  5. Turn off the pump and clean the screen filter by removing the inline filter housing. Make sure to put the filter back properly after it has been cleaned.
  6. Remove any remaining vinegar from the water heater. Fill the bucket with clean water and run it through the water heater for a couple of minutes to finish the cleaning. Disconnect the hoses, turn on the water supply, and power on the water heater.

Electric Tankless Water Heaters

If you have an electric tankless water heater, the most common problem that you may encounter has to do with the heating element. Normally, you would need to replace the heating element to restore the functionality of your water heater. Here is how you do it.

  1. Disconnect the water heater from the power source and turn off the circuit breaker. Also make sure that you cut the water supply.
  2. Siphon the water from the water heater by opening the hot water handle of the nearest faucet. Remove the screws from the underside to release the chamber plate. This allows you to remove the plate with more water being drained from the water heater.
  3. Disconnect any wires that are connected to the heating unit. Make sure that you wrap a rag around the heating element so that the water does not drip on the floor.
  4. Take an adjustable wrench and loosen the nut that holds the heating element in place. Make sure that you have an exact replacement part with the O-ring properly seated. Turn the water supply back on and turn back the power on.

Problems with tankless water heaters are relatively simple to fix. However, if you encounter something out of the ordinary, make sure that you call Scott English Plumbing immediately!