To keep your tankless water heater in good working order, performing preventative maintenance is a must. A tankless system can have a service life of 20+ years assuming it was properly cared for and installed.
The maintenance necessary for a tankless unit is entirely different to the maintenance tasks of a tank-style heater. And since gas vs electric tankless water heaters have very different designs, they also require different maintenance tasks. However, there is some overlap.
Tankless Water Heater Preventative Maintenance
Water quality plays a critical role in the service life for tankless water heaters. Manufacturers rarely cover warranty issues that resulted from poor water quality. So being proactive can save you some money and a lot of headaches down the road.
These 3 proactive measures can make a huge impact on the service life of your tankless system:
There are a number of important preventative maintenance tasks that should be performed on a tankless water heater. Of course, flushing the unit is likely the most important, but there are other things to consider as well.
Most homeowners can perform many of the tasks, but if you own a gas unit, we highly recommend having it inspected annually by a professional.
You may want to consider hiring a professional the first time maintenance is needed. He can walk you thru what needs to be done for your specific unit, and you can ask questions, take notes and maybe even video some of the tasks. You'll know exactly what to do next time.
- Always turn off the electrical power when you're working on the unit. Either unplug the unit or flip the circuit breaker off.
- The water within the tankless can cause serious burns. Always use caution when handling VERY hot water.
- Always check your owner's manual. The instructions below are to be used as a general guide, but your owner's manual will have the detailed information for your specific tankless unit.
Preventative Maintenance Tasks
- Both gas and electric water heaters need to be flushed on a regular basis. Although, we've mentioned this several times, we still want to stress how important it is to flush your tankless.
Beyond flushing, electric tankless water heaters require very little additional maintenance. Some manufacturers use an air filter that will need to be removed and cleaned periodically.
Without the occurrence of combustion, electric units run cleaner simply because there aren't any byproducts such as soot. Combustion isn't needed to heat the water because the unit isn't "burning" the fuel.
Electric tankless systems have an entirely different design than gas units. Without the need for combustion to operate, they run cleaner, and cleaner means less preventative maintenance!
A gas tankless water heater requires more maintenance than an electric system. Keeping the burners, circulating air passages and control compartments free of dust and debris is critical. These steps are easy to do and can be done as a stand alone project or along with other maintenance tasks.
General Cleaning Steps
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Pressure Relief Valve
- The water that is released during this test may be VERY hot and under pressure. Severe burns may result.
- Take precautions that the water discharged has an appropriate place to flow. It should never come in contact with your body or property.