If you've used storage water heaters in the past, then you know that you need to flush them out occasionally. Storage water heaters tend to accumulate sediment on their lower levels. Over time, this sediment can build-up on the heating element or along the bottom of the tank. This sediment reduces the tank's efficiency and can cause disturbing noises.
Tankless heaters don't have a storage tank to collect sediment, but that doesn't mean that they don't require occasional cleaning. Keep reading to discover why this maintenance task isn't something you should ignore.
Why Should You Clean Your Tankless Heater?
Hard water is the biggest threat to tankless water heaters. The scale that builds up around your faucets and drains also accumulates in your pipes and inside appliances that use water, including your tankless water heater. Even if you have a water softener, your home's water is still likely to have some mineral content that can precipitate out of the water when heated.
In a tankless water heater, these scale deposits can coat the interior plumbing and heat exchanger. Mineral deposits will reduce the efficiency of heat transfer inside the heater, ultimately increasing your utility bills and potentially wearing out internal components more quickly. Routinely cleaning your tankless water heater helps to increase its longevity and energy efficiency.
When Should You Clean Your Tankless Heater?
You should follow a similar schedule with tankless water heaters as you do with storage water heaters. In other words, plan to flush your water heater about once per year. Following this schedule ensures that you should not have any significant build-up inside of the unit. Consider cleaning more frequently for very hard water, although you may want to consider a water softener system for your whole house in this case.
How Should You Clean Your Tankless Heater?
Unfortunately, cleaning a tankless water heater isn't as straightforward as flushing a storage water heater. You'll typically need a kit that includes a circulation pump, attachment hoses, and a chemical cleaner to remove any scale build-up inside of the unit. You'll also need to ensure that you shut off the output valve to avoid circulating the cleaner chemical through your home's plumbing.
Although flushing a tankless water heater isn't complicated and the kits aren't expensive, you may still want to consider having a professional perform this maintenance task. If you hire a plumber for an annual inspection of your home's plumbing, then ask them to also take some time to check and flush your water heater.