Maintenance of Tankless Water Heater – Vinegar Flushing

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What is the importance of periodic maintenance of a tankless water heater? A very common question among on-demand instant water heater users.  A common rule is that purging off is necessary at least once a year. In this article, we will try to help you sort out the right frequency of tankless water heater tuning up along with the procedure.

How does Tankless Heater Work?

A tankless water heater does not have a storage tank like a traditional tanked water heater system. Therefore, it does not store water inside it. Then the question is, how does it work? There is a heat exchanger inside a tankless system. This is made of highly heat-conductive copper material. When there is a need for outlet water, the machine detects the flow by the use of a sensor. Thus, the heater starts working only when there is a flow. Then the heat exchanger starts working and heats up the water. The machine has limitations over the inlet water flow rate. In simple language, inlet water speed should be within the capacity of the heater. Otherwise, your machine will not be able to supply water with the required temperature.

Procedure of tankless water heater maintenance

  • Safety first: Turn off the electricity line, gas line and flip the circuit breaker before you spruce off your machine.
  • Turn off all the valves of the inlet and outlet water system.
  • Find the purging valve which is shaped like ‘T’. To release the pressure of the tank, you should remove this valve.
  • Attach the hosing line at the valves you turned off in step two. Water from this hosing system will flush your machine. Follow the instruction manual if necessary.
  • Vinegar flush: Most manufacturers suggest using light chemicals such as white vinegar during flushing. These chemicals will help remove the sediments easily. Do not use heavy chemicals. This may harm your machine.
  • After completing flushing, you may set all the valves as the previous position.
  • Restart the heater as per the instruction manual.

Why Maintenance of Tankless Water Heater?

Tap water, which we use as the input, is contaminated with different kinds of minerals. These minerals are not good for your machine. Minerals settle over time which can be a reason for the malfunctioning of the heat exchanger, which is considered to be the heart of a tankless water heater. Therefore, periodic purging is a must for any tankless system to get rid of these unwanted sediments. For a gas-run tankless water heater, regular maintenance is necessary to mitigate the danger of carbon monoxide diffusion.

Flushing/ Maintenance Routine

Many of us go for maintenance after the machine stops heating up the water. The formation of scale creates an outer layer indie the heat exchanger which hinders the machine from working properly. If you have maintenance in this situation, it will cost you extra money to call a professional plumber and revive an almost dead water heater. This will also reduce the lifespan of the machine. Therefore, it is always recommended that you take regular preventive maintenance. You might get guidance regarding the annual flush routine in your tankless water heater maintenance manual. But the generalized instruction might not be appropriate for you if your water is excessively hard. In this case, shorten the maintenance frequency after discussing it with the plumber.

Frequent maintenance

You might need more frequent maintenance if,

Wherever you live, your water must contain some amount of mineral. But if you live in regions where the mineral content in water is higher, then you must need to flush your machine more frequently. You might need to have maintenance every six months for very hard water regions. This will increase your tankless water heater flushing cost.

The hardness of the water is not the lone factor to take decisions on maintenance frequency. If you operate the heater at a high temperature, then you might need to flush the machine more frequently. You may already know that higher temperature eases the sedimentation process. Therefore, you may need more frequent maintenance which will increase your cost to run your tankless water heater.

Bottom line

How long should a tankless water heater last? – as much you take care of it. Unlike a storage tank system, a tankless water heater needs frequent maintenance. If you think that you are not enough confident to do the job by yourself, you must seek help from a professional. After you see the process once or twice, you may then do the job by yourself. Now you already know the reasons for sediments and scale formation inside the heat exchanger. Take care of the facts which are under your control such as water temperature. If you follow this guidance, we expect that you can overcome common problems with your tankless water heater.