Tankless Water Heater Maintenance: 8 Things You Should Know

Did you know that a tankless water heater can last more than 20 years, while storage water heaters only last between 10 and 15 years? 

As a homeowner, you can save yourself a lot of money and increase your home’s efficiency by investing in a tankless water heater. However, you’re probably wondering about the maintenance. 

Similar to any system in your home, you’re going to have to invest in tankless water heater maintenance. 

The good news is, we have all the information you need in this guide. Below, you’re going to read about how to care for your system, plumbing services, and how to avoid water heater damage.

1. Check and Clean the Filter

A tankless heater needs a fresh supply of air to heat up the water. There is a filter in the heater that prevents dust and debris from getting in. If this filter is dirty or clogged, the airflow will become restricted. 

This will lead to your heater working harder, reducing efficiency and potentially causing issues and malfunctions. 

In order to reduce this risk and potential issue, you’ll need to check, clean, and replace your filters. How often you need to do this will depend on your unit and where it’s located. 

If it’s in a location that is particularly dusty, you’ll want to change it and clean it more frequently. Aim to check the filter every six months, from there you’ll be able to decide if it needs to be cleaned or if it can wait a few more weeks. 

Before locating your filter, be sure to turn the heater off. This will ensure you’re safe. Your owner’s manual will tell you where it’s located. Once you remove the filter, you’ll want to use a vacuum or soft-bristled brush to clean it off. 

You can use water to rinse it as well. However, be sure it’s completely dry before reinstalling it. When the filter is back in place, you can turn your unit back on. 

2. Flush the System 

Part of tankless water heater maintenance includes flushing the system. This can be done by a professional or you can do it yourself. 

This task should be performed about once a year. This step helps remove any mineral deposits and sediments that have built up over time. This will ensure the water runs smoothly and efficiently. 

This maintenance process has a few more steps than cleaning the filter. Not only do you need to turn off the unit, you’ll also need to shut off the water valves. 

Once that is done, you’ll need to drain the unit. You can use a bucket to catch the water. 

You’ll then want to connect a descaling solution to the cold water valve. The owner’s manual will tell you which specific solution you should be using. Once that’s hooked up, you’ll turn on the cold water. 

You’ll let the solution run through the system for about 45 minutes. Then drain the system of the solution, and run fresh water through it to flush the system of all the descaling solution. 

Your system will then be ready to use again. 

3. Check for Leaks

The last thing you want in your home is water damage. To ensure water isn’t leaking from your water heater and home plumbing, be sure to check for leaks every once in a while. 

You’ll want to look at the connections, valves, and pipes. If you notice any water dripping or leaking out, you’ll want to schedule a water heater repair immediately. 

4. Monitor Water Pressure

You’ll likely notice a change in your water pressure pretty quickly. However, you can install a pressure regulator to keep the pressure between the manufacturer’s suggested range. 

Excessive water pressure can strain the tankless water heater tremendously. Regular maintenance will ensure the pressure doesn’t become too strong. If it does, you’ll likely notice premature wear and potential leaks. 

5. Inspecting the Venting System

The safety of your home and family is the most important thing. Performing regular maintenance checks on your venting system will ensure you’re protected. 

A vent system that is blocked or damaged could be very dangerous. It could lead to carbon monoxide buildup, which you don’t want. 

Take the time to check for any issues, so you can live comfortably and safely. 

6. Schedule Professional Tankless Water Heater Maintenance

While you can do a lot of tankless water heater maintenance on your own, hiring a professional is key. They will have more knowledge and experience. They will be able to perform a comprehensive inspection and look for potential issues. 

An expert will carry out specialized maintenance procedures to keep your unit in top shape. They’ll also clean and flush the unit, ensure it’s running at optimal efficiency, remove any buildup, and ensure it uses less energy and will still provide consistent hot water. 

Another benefit of hiring a pro is reducing the risk of costly repairs. As a homeowner, you have a lot of responsibilities. You likely have a busy schedule and checking on your water heater may not be at the top of your list of things to do. 

It can easily slip your mind and then the next thing you know, something’s wrong or not working correctly. 

Scheduling regular maintenance with an experienced professional will reduce your stress and ensure your water heater is working properly. You won’t have to worry about not being in compliance with local building regulations. 

A poorly maintained tankless water heater could pose risks of gas leaks, water leaks, or electrical hazards. You won’t have to worry about any of those problems when you schedule regular maintenance.

You’ll have peace of mind knowing your water heater is working and you’re safe in your home.

7. Follow the Manufacturer’s Guidelines

One of the most important things for you to do is to check the manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Your tankless water heater may not be the same as your friends or neighbors. Your heater may require more or less maintenance. You won’t know what it needs if you don’t check the manual. 

There are a number of benefits to checking the guidelines. First, you won’t have to guess about what maintenance is needed or not. It will also tell you how often you need to perform specific maintenance tasks. 

You’ll know exactly what to look for and how to keep your heater in the best shape possible. It will also ensure that your tankless heater stays within warranty.

You will also have peace of mind knowing that your tankless water heater is going to last as long as possible. Without regular maintenance and following the manufacturer’s guidelines, you run the risk of needing repairs sooner. 

8. Address Hard Water Issues

Hard water is very common and unfortunately can cause issues for you. Hard water is high in mineral content, typically calcium and magnesium. This can lead to buildup inside your water heater, causing plumping issues, and even affecting your skin and hair. 

As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your water isn’t damaging your tankless water heater. However, you can’t fix the issues if you don’t know the signs to look for. 

There are various signs that you’ll notice that will indicate your water is high in mineral content. If you notice a white, chalky residue on your sinks, bathtubs, and other surfaces after washing, it’s likely due to hard water. 

If it’s leaving residue behind in your house, just think about what’s in your plumbing system. 

Scale deposits left on faucets or in your water kettle are another sign. These mineral deposits can lead to clogged and damaged appliances over time. If you start to notice your water pressure decreasing, it’s likely due to mineral build. 

It’s vital that you address these issues right away so you don’t have issues with your water heater in the future. 

Installing a water softener is an easy maintenance trick that is easy, quick, and very effective. These systems work by exchanging calcium and magnesium ions with sodium or potassium ions. This will prevent mineral build and reduce the amount of manual maintenance you have to invest in.  

If your water pressure has been affected, you’ll need a descaling product. This will help dissolve the minerals and restore water flow.  

The Proactive Homeowner’s Guide to Home Plumbing 

A tankless water heater is a great investment for anyone who wants unlimited hot water and improved energy efficiency. 

To ensure you’re getting the most out of the water heater, you’ll need to perform regular maintenance and work closely with an expert. Proper care is key, don’t wait until you need a repair to call a technician. 

We’ve been in business since 1981 and we know being a homeowner can be overwhelming, but that’s why we’re here to help. We’ve made it easy for you. Simply fill out this form and our techs will contact you with answers about tankless water heater maintenance.