Tankless water heaters have the impressive ability to heat water on demand, so you get the hot water you want within seconds. They don’t require a storage tank, so they can be mounted on the wall to free up floor space, and can be stored in a small space like a closet. Tankless water heaters also have a long lifespan of about 20 years; double the lifecycle of a conventional storage tank water heater. For all their advantages, tankless water heaters require specific maintenance routines to ensure they perform efficiently for the long haul.
Common Problems with Propane Tankless Water Heaters
If not properly maintained, your tankless water heater could cause a lot of headaches down the road. At best, your energy efficiency will downgrade. At worst, you may be stuck with intensive repairs due to excessive scale buildup in the water lines of the unit. Go too long without performing a tankless water heater flush, and particles can build up and block valve screens throughout the plumbing. The result can lead to expensive behind-the-walls repairs.
Propane Tankless Water Heater Maintenance Guide
There’s a lot to be gained by selecting a tankless water heater in your home, and you can enjoy it for longer when you follow these basic maintenance routines.
- This is the most basic maintenance activity for a tankless water heater. Over time, naturally occurring minerals in your groundwater (like calcium and lime) can accumulate in the unit’s components. This is especially common in areas with hard water. Flushing your tankless water heater takes about 45 minutes and should be done about every 12 months. Learn how to flush a tankless water heater.
- Cleaning the water filter. Some tankless water heaters have a screen that traps debris to stop it from reaching the heating unit. It’s essential to clean the in-line water filter of any sediment and debris. It’s a quick and easy process; just use a rag to wipe it clean.
- Cleaning the air filter. Doing so ensures good air flow into the tankless water heater. Simply remove the filter, and use soapy water and a soft bristled brush to scrub it clean. Make sure the filter is dry before reinstalling it.
Unless you have very soft water, the water traveling through your water heater leaves behind minerals — calcium, lime — that adhere to the interior components of your system. Tankless water heaters are especially vulnerable to scale buildup because they’re allowed to dry between uses, creating an ideal environment for scale. This debris can build up, leaving rocks of scale that degrade the efficiency of the water heater. Descaling solution, or a simple solution of vinegar, works by breaking down the buildup with their acidic properties.