Your new tankless water heater will have a longer life and a lower risk of problems if you maintain it properly. One of the most important things you can do is to watch for hard water scale buildup and remove it before it damages the internal parts of the heater. Here's why hard water is damaging to your heater, steps you can take to prevent hard water problems, and maintenance you may need to have done.
Problems Caused By Hard Water
Hard water is such a problem for a water heater because it leaves mineral scale deposits behind. If your home has very hard water, the scale builds up fast, maybe even in just a matter of months. The scale can cause clogs, get inside parts and cause them to malfunction, and drive up the operating costs of your new heater. If you don't clean the scale out in time, your heater might break down and need repairs.
Maintenance That Gets Rid Of Scale
Routine tankless water heater maintenance includes descaling the heater. This is done by running a solution through the heater that breaks up the minerals so they can be flushed out. Simple vinegar can accomplish this goal, but your plumber might use other products. Once the scale has been dissolved or broken up, the heater has to be flushed for several minutes to get all the debris out of the system.
When your plumber does this maintenance on your tankless heater, they also check the operation of the heater and look at the various parts to see if anything needs to be replaced. Once done, you'll have peace of mind that your water heater is good until time for the next visit.
Your plumber might recommend an annual maintenance call, but sometimes you might need more or less frequent service. It all depends on how hard the water is in your home and whether you have well water that might also have sediment in it. If your home has very hard water, your water heater might need to be flushed out every six months or so.
Options For Protecting Your Tankless Heater
If hard water is a serious issue for your home, you may want to have a water softener installed. Keep in mind, if hard water is a problem for your water heater, it's also a problem for your plumbing pipes, faucets, washing machine, and anything else that the water touches.
A water softener works to reduce minerals so there is less debris left behind to coat the water heater. This might mean you can service your water heater less often, and that you'll have fewer problems that need repairs.
Another option for dealing with water problems is to have a filter installed. This is an important addition if you are hooked up to well water and sediment is in the water too. The sediment collects in the pipes just like mineral scale and can affect the operation of the water heater, but a filter removes particles so your water isn't as harmful to the pipes and parts in the heater.
To learn more about tankless water heater maintenance, reach out to a local plumber.