Chances are, you are familiar with the traditional water heater setup—storage tank water heaters are very noticeable, and often even a little noisy. This conventional water heater is found in most homes throughout the country, so many people realize that a tank water heater may need attention from time to time, in the form of system maintenance.
Scaling, after all, which is the buildup of minerals like magnesium, calcium, and iron—a.k.a “hard water”—can have a major negative impact on a water heater. The mineral buildup bangs around nosily in the tank, causing problems with water pressure, temperature, and eventually corrosion. Because of this, tank water heaters have to be flushed on occasion. All of this said, what many people don’t realize is that tankless water heaters need maintenance too! So if you have one or are considering purchasing one, this blog post is for you—read on!
Scaling, and Your Tankless Water Heater
Much of the maintenance completed for tank water heaters is similar to tankless maintenance, and for the same reason. Scaling impacts tankless water heaters in a way that could lead to their premature breakdown. At least that is if you don’t schedule routine maintenance for it. As we said above, hard water leaves behind mineral deposits, in your water heater as well as your plumbing pipes.
Scaling can impact the heat exchanger of your tankless water heater. As you probably know, the heat exchanger is what actually heats up the water in the first place. You need this component to be clean so it can actually heat the water efficiently and effectively. Scaling makes your burners work harder and can overwork a tankless system until it breaks down.
“How Often Should I Schedule Maintenance?”
The short answer to this is, “it depends.” For some tankless water heaters, maintenance is essential once a year, to keep the system running smoothly throughout its entire lifespan. For others, it’s okay to go every 2-3 years. This will really depend on if your home or your area suffers from hard water and subsequent mineral deposits.
If you’re unsure if hard water is a problem where you live, the best thing you can do is contact our plumbers to find out. While you can watch for some signs, like chalky buildup around faucets and drains, a professional will be able to adequately test and see just how much of a problem hard water may post for your plumbing. From there we can recommend solutions, such as the installation of a whole-house water softener.
When to Consider a Tankless Water Heater Replacement
Proper maintenance will help your tankless water heater function for many years but just like any other plumbing appliance, it won’t last forever. You can reasonably expect about 20 years from a well-maintained system.
Keeping up with tankless water heater maintenance is the only way to ensure that your system lives out its full term. Be sure to consult with one of our plumbers to learn more about the state of your tankless system if you have one in your home already, and to learn more about the benefits of installing one if you don’t!