Kudos to you if you are the proud owner of a tankless water heater or if you are considering an upgrade to this type of water heater in your Jacksonville home. Tankless water heaters are a safer and more energy-efficient alternative to traditional water heaters with tanks. But just like a traditional water heater with a tank, a tankless model requires preventive and yearly maintenance. Here is what you should know about maintaining tankless water heaters.
Preventing Problems from Hard Water
Water in the Jacksonville area is known for its high concentrations of magnesium and calcium from aquifers loaded with limestone. Deposits from these minerals lead to a hard, scaly buildup on the heating unit of your tankless water heater. As the buildup increases, it can cause your unit’s heat exchanger to overheat. Because the unit is monitored by its computerized monitoring system, an error code will be generated that will lock up your system. This could cause you to be without hot water until you resolve the buildup problem from the hard water.
The best way to prevent buildup from hard water mineral deposits is to have a whole-house water softener system installed. This will help decrease the buildup in your water heater. Softening your water will also help prevent damage to other appliances and plumbing fixtures in your home including your washing machine, dishwasher, faucets and sinks. An added bonus is that by softening the water in your home, you will use less laundry detergent, shampoo, soap and will be able to drink tap water instead of bottled water in your home.
Flushing Your Tankless Water Heater
While tankless water heaters do not have tanks that need to be drained, flushed and sanitized each year, they still should be flushed at least once a year. This also helps rinse away any mineral buildup. If you have the right tools and equipment, you could flush your tankless heater on your own. Before beginning the flushing process, it is important to remember to always turn off the power source to the unit whether it is electric or gas powered. You will also need to turn off water to the unit, including inlet and outlet sources. This will help prevent injury or damage to your unit and home.
The owner’s manual that came with your water heater will describe the steps for flushing your exact model. To flush your water heater:
- Open the overflow valve to release the water pressure.
- Put a 1/6th HP sump pump in a five-gallon bucket and connect a hose from the pump’s “output connection” to the heater’s “input connection.”
- Connect a second hose to the heater’s “output connection” and place the other end of the hose in the five-gallon bucket.
- Add one gallon of water and two to three gallons of white vinegar to the five-gallon bucket.
- Keep the sump pump submerged in the bucket.
- Turn on the pump and allow the water and vinegar mixture to cycle though your water heater for 45 minutes.
This process will remove the calcium, magnesium and lime that has built up inside your tankless water heater. Once complete, your system will run like new.
If you prefer to leave the maintenance of your tankless water heater to a professional, Bill Fenwick Plumbing is ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a maintenance appointment.