Properly designed and installed tankless water heaters seem to work wonders – gallons of water heated on demand for showers, laundry and your other needs. Of course, like all mechanical devices, it takes regular tankless water heater maintenance to keep your hot water steadily flowing.
By far the most important maintenance tasks are flushing your system and cleaning the intake filter. Manufacturers have different time frames for when to perform these tasks, depending on your model, your frequency of use and your water quality. You should do the tasks anywhere from every six months to every three years, depending on your owner's manual and individual usage pattern.
Why do you need to flush your system? Because of the ultra-fast heating process, tankless water heaters gradually develop mineral deposits and calcified buildup that needs to be dissolved. These are the same materials that you find at the bottom of your tea pot after long use. With a couple of hoses, white vinegar, a small sump pump or pond pump, and a 5-gallon bucket, this job becomes a relatively simple tankless water heater maintenance task.
Here is an outline of the flushing process: (Be sure to observe all safety recommendations in your manufacturer's booklet before proceeding!)
- Consult your owner's manual or contact the manufacturer for detailed flush instructions.
- Generally, you will need 2 to 4 gallons of white vinegar, two small hoses, a sump or pond pump, and a 5-gallon bucket.
- Shut off the power (and gas if it is used) to your unit. Shut off the water valves coming in and out and use the relief valve to carefully release pressure on the water in the pipes.
- Connect the sump pump to your unit with the two hoses and submerse the pump in the vinegar-filled bucket.
- Run your pump for at least an hour, allowing sufficient time to dissolve buildup.
- After disconnecting your pump, remove the intake filter and clean out any grit. Reconnect your system and turn on the electricity and/or gas.
Remember this is only one aspect of the maintenance required for your tankless heater. Most often this is best performed by an experienced, certified technician.
Contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling if you have any questions about flushing your system. With 75 years of HVAC experience in the Cleveland area, our technicians can handle any tankless water heater maintenance needs with ease and keep your pipes filled with a strong, steady stream of hot water.
Photo Credit: Ms. Tina