When customers ask if we recommend maintenance for tankless water heaters, our answer is “yes.” Allow us to elaborate…
Tankless systems are clearly smaller than their tank water heater counterparts. They have fewer moving parts, and as a result, might seem like they need less care. While they may not need maintenance as often as a tank system, they still need this routine service. Here’s why:
Tankless Systems Accumulate Scaling
What is scaling, you ask? This is something that can affect your tankless water heater in such a way that it could leak to its premature demise, unless you schedule regular tune-ups. Scaling happens due to something called hard water, which is water that has a high level of minerals in it—namely calcium, magnesium, and sometimes iron too.
These minerals are found in water supplies everywhere, and actually are absolutely harmless to ingest, so that’s not what you have to worry about. But plumbing systems do not process these minerals the same ways our body does. As a result, the minerals leave behind deposits that accumulate in the pipes—this is what we’re referring too when we say scaling.
How Often Should You Schedule Tankless Maintenance?
The short answer to this question is, “it depends.”
For most tankless water heaters, maintenance every 2 or 3 years should be sufficient. Ultimately, it depends on the level of hard water in your area. For tankless systems in homes with chronic hard water problems, maintenance should be done once a year, as with a tank system.
Our professional plumbers will test your water to see if you have hard water. You might even be able to detect this on your own. If you discover a chalky, white substance forming around your faucets and drain openings, white spots on your glassware after they come out of the dishwasher, or even a firm residue on your skin after you shower, you may very well have hard water.
The Importance of Routine Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
Regular water heater maintenance won’t allow your tankless water heater to last forever, but it will certainly help it last a lot longer than it would otherwise. The thing is, scaling can shorten the lifespan of the system. It can coat the heat exchangers, leading to inefficient heating, and can cause wear and tear to accumulate faster.
If your tankless system was professionally installed and starts showing signs of struggle after 10-15 years, it could be a sign of poor maintenance. Maintenance will help your tankless water heater work efficiently and last longer.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of plumbing pros with any questions you have about your water heater. We’re happy to talk about your maintenance options as well as if your current water heater is giving you the most efficient service it can. If it’s time to upgrade, we’ll talk to you about the pros and cons of both the tankless, and the tank system.