If you are experiencing decreased water pressure, long waits for hot water, or have no hot water, you may need a tankless water heater flush. This process removes scale buildup and cleans your unit. Flushing is a maintenance measure that will improve its functionality and longevity.
Table of Contents
- What is Tankless Water Heater Flushing?
- Consequences for Not Flushing Tankless Hot Water Heater
- Do All Tankless Water Heaters Need to Be Flushed?
- How Often Do I Need to Flush Tankless Water Heater?
- Essential Elements of Tankless Water Heater Flush/Inspection
- When To Call a Professional for Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
What is Tankless Water Heater Flushing?
Tankless water heater flushing is a crucial maintenance procedure that helps to remove sediment buildup and maintain optimal performance. As water flows through the heat exchanger, it leaves behind traces of minerals and sediment, which can accumulate over time and restrict water flow, reduce efficiency, and even lead to premature failure. Regular flushing, typically recommended annually, helps to clear these deposits and ensure the longevity of your tankless water heater.
Consequences for Not Flushing Tankless Hot Water Heater
Like any major household appliance, maintenance is critical. Just because your tankless water heater doesn’t constantly store and heat water like a traditional water heater doesn’t exclude it from all maintenance. Tankless water heaters need descaling and cleaning to avoid the following:
- Voided warranty
- Breakdowns long before the typical lifespan would expect
- Mineral and sediment buildup, especially from hard St. Louis water
- Lack of hot water due to reduced surface area in the pipes
- Delayed hot water
- Incorrect or fluctuating temperatures
- Decreased water pressure
- Discolored water
- Error codes on the status screen
- Reduced energy efficiency
- Loud noises from the tankless water heater
- Frequent repairs or a premature replacement
Of course, if you notice any of the above, you can take them as signs you need a tankless water heater flush, repairs or replacement. It is essential, as it is a matter of safety and health, to ensure you don’t have contaminated water. Plus, water heaters are an investment you want to make as few times as you reasonably can, so it is important to maintain and flush annually. Doing so will extend its lifespan and improve its performance.
Do All Tankless Water Heaters Need to Be Flushed?
Every tankless water heater should be flushed and maintained regularly. Over time, mineral deposits and sediment can accumulate inside the unit, affecting its efficiency and performance. Flushing helps prevent these deposits from impeding the water flow and compromising heating elements. The flushing frequency depends on factors such as water hardness and usage patterns. Regular maintenance, including flushing, can extend the lifespan of your tankless water heater and ensure it continues to provide an uninterrupted supply of hot water. It’s advisable to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek professional advice to determine the appropriate flushing schedule for your unit.
How Often Do I Need to Flush Tankless Water Heater?
You may be wondering about the frequency that tankless water heaters should be flushed since it doesn’t constantly hold and heat a large amount of water but rather heat it on demand. Most manufacturers require an annual flushing and maintenance to preserve the warranty. However, if the water is hard like it is in St. Louis, it may be better to flush your tankless system more often than that as the mineral buildup on parts is greater here.
Essential Elements of Tankless Water Heater Flush/Inspection
- Acid Flush Heat Exchanger: Thorough flushing of the heat exchanger using a specialized acid solution to remove mineral deposits and scale.
- Inlet Screen Check: Examination of the inlet screen to ensure it is debris-free, preventing potential water flow issues.
- Check Connections: Inspect all connections to identify and address any potential leaks or loose fittings.
- Clean Flame Sensor: Cleaning the flame sensor to ensure efficient ignition and combustion.
- Check Exhaust Vents: Examine exhaust vents to verify proper ventilation and address any blockages.
- System Flush: A complete system flush to remove accumulated sediment and maintain optimal water flow.
- Verify Unit Installation and Service Valves: Confirmation that the unit is correctly installed, and service valves are in good working condition.
- Check Water Temperature: Calibration check to ensure the water temperature is accurate and meets your preferences.
- Check Operation: A final check to verify the overall operation of the tankless water heater, ensuring it meets performance standards.
This comprehensive flush and inspection service contributes to the continued efficiency and reliable functioning of your tankless water heater.
When To Call a Professional for Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
While you can complete the flushing process yourself, it is important to know you can call a professional to do it for you if you are at all uncomfortable doing so. A licensed plumber has the training, and experience to complete the tankless water heater flush, perform maintenance, and address any minor repairs needed in one appointment rather than piecemealing it as you discover issues.
Of course, if you do complete the flushing successfully but notice your tankless water heater still isn’t operating as it should, call in the experts to identify, diagnose, and address the problem.
FAQ’s About Tankless Water Heater Flushing
Flushing the internal components of a tankless water heater can be managed by the user, but for the more delicate external parts, professional assistance is recommended.
A few indicators that you need to flush your tankless water heater include breakdowns long before the typical lifespan would expect, delayed hot water, decreased water pressure, discolored water, and more.
Depending on your water heater’s manual, it takes between 45 to 90+ minutes to flush a tankless water heater.
Yes, you just need to remember to turn off the gas and/or electricity for each system and remove the heating element for the electric water heater. Otherwise, the process is the same.