Water heater maintenance: guide and tips (2023)

Water heater maintenance: guide and tips (1)

A little "how-to" knowledge goes a long way in keeping your instantaneous water heater running efficiently. This will save you money on plumbing bills and extend the life of your water heater. You may be wondering what maintenance your instantaneous water heater needs?

Do tankless systems need annual maintenance?

Tankless water heaters require proper maintenance. Descaling your instantaneous water heater is done by removing scale and other mineral deposits from the burner system inside the instantaneous water heater. If you have hard water or your family uses a lot of hot water, you can expect to do this once a year. Families of 1-2 people can do this every 2-3 years. If your water is soft or a water softener is installed, you can do this every 3-5 years.

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It is possible to service and clean a continuous-flow water heater yourself. Let's take a closer look at this below. We'll go through how to remove limescale and other mineral deposits step-by-step to make it easy to follow. We also discuss how often you should service your appliance and whether or not a water heater is worth the money.

Troubleshooting tankless water heating...

Troubleshoot error codes for instantaneous water heaters

Need to flush your water heater?

Most people have heard that they need to flush a tank style water heater. What most people don't realize is that they should also flush their water heater.

Yes, instantaneous water heaters must be flushed. Flushing removes limescale deposits on the internal burnerswater heater. In most cases, a flush is required about every 2 to 3 years. Tankless water heaters will shut down and display an error code when flush maintenance is required.

Minerals travel in the water supply. The amount of minerals in the water supply contributes to the hardness of the water. The more minerals in the water, the harder the water. Like a tank-type water heater, this sediment separates from the water as it heats.

However, the sediment does not have a tank to settle in on demand water heaters. TheSedimentcollects on the burners in a gas water heater or on the heating elements in an electric water heater. Sediment that doesn't accumulate in tankless systems ends up in your faucet aerators, clogging the aerators and reducing your water qualitywater pressure.

If you clean your aerators regularly, it's time to descale your instantaneous water heater. A family of four probably needs to flush out mineral buildup once a year. A family of two can probably flush their water heater every 18 months.

The exception is those who have installed a water softener. With a water softening system installed, you may be able to flush your water heater every 3-5 years.

So if you're ready to learn more about properly maintaining your tankless system, let's get started!

How to flush and descale a continuous-flow water heater

Routine maintenance is required to keep a water heater running efficiently. The following steps will help you flush your tanklessClean and remove water heaterMineral deposits in the burner system:

Accessories you will need:

  • 2 washing machine hoses
  • Kanal verriegelungszange
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 3 gallons of pure white vinegar or descaling solution
  • dirty water pump

This handy kit includes a 5 gallon bucket, 2 hoses, descaling solution and a sump pump.

You can buy a flushing kit. We found one on Amazon thatMy PlumbingStuff - Instantaneous Water Heater Flushing KitContains a 32-ounce J.C. Whitlam FLOW32 Flow-Aide System descaler solution, Zoeller 42-0007 submersible floor pump, a 5 gallon bucket and instruction manual.

Instructions for flushing instantaneous water heaters:

Water heater maintenance: guide and tips (4)
  • The cleaning process takes about 2 to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Step 1: Access your water heater's connections

Remove the cover to access the connections under the water heater. Some tankless models may not have a cover installed. The cover protects the piping where it enters the bottom of the heating unit.

Step 2: Make sure your water heater has shut-off valves installed

Make sure your water heater has the shut-off valves installed. If these valves are not in place, you will need to stop and calllicensed plumberto have these installed. With these valves you can shut off the water and connect the flushing hoses.

Step 3: Turn off the propane or natural gas supply

Turn OFF the main gas supply to the water heater. You need to turn the fuel feeder perpendicular to the fuel line. You don't have to turn off the powerelectric thermostat.

Step 4: Turn off the water supply

Close the cold water supply valve that supplies water to the water heater. This prevents cold water from flowing into the device.

Close the hot water supply valve that supplies hot water from the water heater to the house. This preventshot waterdo not flow into the house.

Insider-Tipp:Take this opportunity to check yoursTemperature and pressure relief valve(T&P valve) to ensure it is working properly. If the T&P valve needs replacing, now is a good time to do so.

Step 5: Open the purge valves and connect the hoses

Remove the caps on the purge valves. This is necessary to reduce any pressure that may have built up in the valves.

Connect the tubing to the purge valves and use duct locking pliers to check the tight connections. Make sure the rubber washers are in the hose to seal the connection and prevent leakage.

Open the purge valves by rotating them 90 degrees perpendicular (or perpendicular) to the current positions of the cold and warm valves.

Step 6: Set up the bucket and sump pump

Fill the 5 gallon bucket with descaling solution or 3 gallons of white distilled vinegar.

Lower the sump pump into the 5 gallon bucket filled with descaling solution or distilled vinegar and turn on the sump pump.

Step 7: Flushing the water heater

Run the sump pump for 30 minutes if using descaling solution or 1-2 hours if using vinegar. This pumps the cleaning solution through the water heater to clean the plumbing.

When complete, turn off the sump pump. Disconnect the hoses and empty the bucket of cleaning solution.

You must fill the bucket with clean water to flush out any remaining descaling solution. You must repeat this process until the water flushing through the system is clear.

When finished, turn off the sump pump and discard the remaining solution.

Step 8: Exit and close the system

Disconnect the hoses from the purge valves.

Reinstall the flush port caps securely and tighten securely. Be careful not to damage the rubber seals in the caps. In this case, you must replace them immediately.

Step 9: Check the sediment filter

The sediment filter is located on the cold water inlet that comes into the tankless unit. Unscrew the sediment filter and clean it thoroughly if necessary. Replace the filter when you're done.

Step 10: Open the water supply to the water heater

Open the valves for the cold water supply and hot water supply by rotating each so that they are in series (or parallel) with the pipe.

Step 11: Turn on the gas to the water heater

Finally, open the gas supply valve so that the valve is in line (or parallel) with the pipeline.

Do that... onhot waterbeat. This will force out excess air trapped in the tube. Let the water run until all the air is gone, about 2-3 minutes.

Clean and put away the items for next year.

And there you have it! A do-it-yourself way to clean and maintain your water heater. Not only have you expanded your handyman knowledge, you've also saved yourself a plumber's fee!

When should you descale an instantaneous water heater?

There is no exact schedule as to when your instantaneous water heater needs to be descaled. This is highly dependent on the water quality in your area. Water hardness is measured by the mineral content of the water supplied.

In areas with very hard water, your instantaneous water heater should be descaled once a year. Areas with softer water can last longer with descaling.

Do you know if you have hard water? TheHealth Metric drinking water test kit for domestic tap and well wateris an EPA-approved home water analysis kit to help you determine the quality of your water source entering your home.

If you have hard water, you can expect to descale your water heater once a year. If your water is soft or you have a water softening system installed, you can expect to describe your water heater every 3-5 years.

Clean the air filter

  1. Switch off the instantaneous water heater and pull out the mains plug.
  2. Remove the front cover. The air filter is usually located on top of the water heater.
  3. Once you locate the air filter, remove it to see if it is dirty.
  4. If necessary, clean the air filter with a soft brush and a mild solution of washing-up liquid and water.
  5. Rinse with clean water and let dry on a lint-free towel
  6. Reinstall the filter, replace the cover, plug in the water heater and turn it on.

Clean the inline water filter

  1. Shut off the gas to the water heater by turning the valve perpendicular to the supply line.
  2. Turn the valve perpendicular to the supply pipe from the cold water inlet to the instantaneous water heater.
  3. Locate the in-line water filter on the cold water inlet. Unscrew to remove the filter from the cold water line.
  4. Clean the water filter under running water or wipe it with a cotton swab.
  5. Reinstall the water filter, reopen the cold water supply valve, and reopen the water heater gas line.

How much does water heater maintenance cost?

Professional repair or regular maintenance ofwater heatercan get expensive. A professional plumber charges fees on average200 bis 800 US-Dollar pro Serviceanruf. A service charge for cleaning a water heater will likely apply$300 bis $400. Being able to do the work yourself will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Can I use CLR to clean my water heater?

There are different opinions about using CLR to clean a water heater. Some, like Jason Fleming, marketing manager atNoritzAmerica, a manufacturer of instantaneous water heaters, says, "We recommend a 60-minute rinse with white vinegar as a descaling agent," advises Fleming. CLR type products can severely corrode the copper heat exchanger in the water heater.1

However, I've spoken to many licensed plumbers who have explained that vinegar alone may not be powerful enough to remove scale in water heaters that aren't serviced regularly.

You can use small amounts of CLR with distilled vinegar to clean a tankless water heater. It safely removes scale, limescale and rust deposits from multiple household goods including coffee pots, showerheads,Toilettebowls and washing machine sinks.

Commonly found in tap water, these three minerals build up in your water heater's pipes over time and need to be removed regularly. CLR safely eats away at those mineral deposits that collect at the bottom of the heater, eliminating the need for excessive scrubbing.

Adding a capful of CLR to each gallon of white vinegar can help remove stubborn buildup in your water heater.

Is cleaning a water heater worth the time and money?

It is a fact that the initial cost of a tankless water heater (which averages around $1,750) is higher than that of a traditional tank model (average around $1,000). However, it saves you a lot of money across the board. The long-term benefits outweigh the higher price, making it a better investment.

The United States Department of Energy has estimated that gas-powered tankless models use less energy and save about $108 per year in heating bills, making them 24% to 34% more efficient overall.Electric instantaneous water heatersave about $44 per year, which is still reasonable compared to traditional storage models. The bottom line is that they are actually worth it in the end.

Tankless water heaters can last 20 years or more with proper maintenance. The parts are also easily replaceable and can last another 5 or 10 years with regular cleaning (once a year). This is in stark contrast to traditional storage tank units which only last 10 to 15 years. It is best to opt for the tankless version under all circumstances. A neat oneInstantaneous water heaters can last up to 30 years.

As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Maintaining your tankless water can help your water heater last about twice as long as a non-maintenance water heater.

Final Thoughts

Servicing and maintaining an instantaneous water heater is relatively easy, with the right materials and some handyman know-how. You can safely and effectively clean your device with a simple step-by-step method to save hundreds of dollars in installation fees.

You can also invest in a descaling kit or flushing system, which is available online and has everything you need to clean your device. This kit can be reused, saving you even more money for years to come.

Do you need a licensed plumber?

Get FREE quotes from licensed plumbers near you today. Whether you need a new water heater, sink repair or toilet repair, we can help! All plumbers are tested, licensed and insured.

Get a FREE quote today

We get a commission when you shop at no additional cost to you.

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